Engineers at Rice University have developed the FlatCam, a camera that is devoid of all the chunky lens attachments and accessories that are often unnecessary, not to mention undeniably bulky.
The FlatCam is equipped with a special mask situated right over its off-the-shelf sensor. The mask features a grid-like arrangement of small aperture sizes that allow light in and onto the sensor. Data is then relayed to a desktop camera where the image is constructed. The FlatCam is currently capable of producing images with a 512 x 512 resolution in a matter of seconds, although this will surely improve going forward.
This ultra-thin camera could be very useful in the security and disaster relief sectors because of its portability and the fact that it's rather difficult to detect, though it could also prove to be a great learning tool.
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