Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

“It’s exciting to me because it changes the way we think,” says Bruce Flinchbaugh, manager of image and video processing at Texas Instruments. “It’s not very often in a field like imaging that somebody comes along and does something so different to solve a problem.”

The researcher’s camera has a long way to go before it’s in a commercialized form, though, notes Baraniuk. Right now, the setup spans an optical table in a lab, and the researchers’ algorithms are slow compared with the compression in commercial cameras. The group is working to make its algorithms faster, and, Baraniuk adds, the hardware continues to improve as more micromirrors are being added to smaller arrays, and their flipping speed increases.

Baraniuk expects that the first application for the new camera could be in terahertz imaging systems–systems that use terahertz-frequency radiation to see through objects and detect small amounts of chemicals. Currently, it’s expensive to build the large sensors needed for these systems, he says, so a single-sensor camera like the one the group developed would be ideal.

Eventually, Rice’s Kelly envisions a version of the group’s algorithm being used in commercial cameras. This could reduce the number of sensors in such a product–decreasing its size and cost–while increasing the overall resolution of pictures. “You might buy a camera with a 2-megapixel sensor, but [the software] might give you a 20- or 30-megapixel image,” he says. “You could exploit the math in a way to allow your pocket camera to give you a much nicer picture.”

2 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Kevin Kelly

Tagged: Computing

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me