New Prototype Gigapixel Camera Creates Super Hi-Res Photos

A team of Duke engineers used one of the most powerful cameras ever developed Sunday to produce a photograph of the university's graduation ceremony with 100 times the resolution of a consumer camera with 10 megapixels.

Their color image, which they posted online shortly after the graduates tossed their caps in the air, is 10 times sharper than 20/20 vision, enabling viewers to see details in thousands of faces.

David Brady and his colleagues developed the AWARE2 Gigapixel Camera with a single lens, 96 microcameras and a 110-degree field of view. The prototype device improves upon a previous version.

"What's really unique about this camera is that it has very high pixel count for things at finite range," said Brady, the Michael J. Fitzpatrick Professor of Electric Engineering at Duke"s Pratt School of Engineering. "It does that in a way no other camera has before because each of the microcameras focuses individually, so objects at various depths can all be in focus.

"You can think of it as a pair of binoculars that points in all directions at once," he said.

The prototype camera is large -- about three feet cubed -- but Brady and his team are working to condense it.

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A new prototype gigapixel camera creates color photographs 10 times sharper than 20/20 vision and with 100 times the resolution of a consumer camera with 10 megapixels.