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 }

Beady eye: The Aware-2 gigapixel camera with some of its many micro-cameras.

Imagine trying to spot an individual pixel in an image displayed across 1,000 high-definition TV screens. That’s the kind of resolution a new kind of “compact” gigapixel camera is capable of producing.

Developed by David Brady and colleagues at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, the new camera is not the first to generate images with more than a billion pixels (or gigapixel resolution). But it is the first with the potential to be scaled down to portable dimensions. Gigapixel cameras could not only transform digital photography, says Brady, but they could revolutionize image surveillance and video broadcasting.

Until now, gigapixel images have been generated either by creating very large film negatives and then scanning them at extremely high resolutions or by taking lots of separate digital images and then stitching them together into a mosaic on a computer. While both approaches can produce stunningly detailed images, the use of film is slow, and setting up hundreds of separate digital cameras to capture an image simultaneously is normally less than practical.

It is not possible to simply scale up a normal digital camera by increasing the number of light sensors to a billion, because this would require a lens so large that imperfections on its surface would cause distortion.

8 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credits: Duke University

Tagged: Communications, cameras

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