A “nano camera” has been invented, that operates at the speed of light and still isn’t too expensive. The camera, priced at $500 has been developed by researchers in the MIT Media Lab. The three-dimensional camera is based on ‘Time of Flight’ technology, in which the location of the objects is found by the time it takes for a light signal to reflect off the surface and return to the sensor. Thus, this camera is not cheated by fog, rain or even translucent objects.
This new device uses an encoding technique to calculate the distance a signal has traveled. The new method allows the camera to encode information within no time. The data which is sent back can be easily calculated to estimate the different distances from one single signal. This new nano camera has an option of unsmeared images (if images are blurred due to a jittery hand, it can be unsmeared to produce a sharper picture).
The super-fast, affordable camera is currently under development at MIT and is all set to improve everything from video game experiences to driving safety. Researchers at a recent tech convention reported that this new technology is quiet similar to a high-speed ‘femto camera’ developed at MIT, which can capture objects at a trillion frames per second. Raskar’s group unveiled the trillion-frame-per-second camera in 2011, which was capable of capturing a single pulse of light that travelled through a scene. The camera uses fast but expensive laboratory-grade optical equipment to create an image each time. This “femto-camera” costs around $500,000 to build and the researches came up with the ‘nano camera’. The camera is anticipated to be used in motion-sensing application, which is similar to the new version of Microsoft’s Kinect video game controller.
In contrast with this, the new “nano-camera” works with a continuous-wave signal that oscillates at nanosecond periods, which allows the team to use inexpensive hardware. By solving the multipath problem, unmixing the light paths and visualizing the light moving across the scene, the New Zealand team has offered the same results as the $5,00,000 camera, but with a slightly lower quality for just $500. The Researches of MIT Media Lab have developed this nano camera to capture translucent objects in 3D.