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    Flexible Sheet Camera

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    © Photo: Computer Vision Laboratory, Columbia Engineering
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    Computer scientists have developed a camera on a sheet, which can be wrapped around objects to capture 360-degree images that are beyond ordinary cameras.

    Computer scientists and engineers at the University of Columbia in New York City have developed an elastic camera which can be molded into a sheet and wrapped around objects to take an image from all angles.

    "Cameras today capture the world from essentially a single point in space," explained Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering.

    "While the camera industry has made remarkable progress in shrinking the camera to a tiny device with ever increasing imaging quality, we are exploring a radically different approach to imaging. We believe there are numerous applications for cameras that are large in format but very thin and highly flexible." 

    Daniel Sims and Yonghao Yue with flexible lens arrays
    Daniel Sims and Yonghao Yue with flexible lens arrays

    The team developed an array of lenses made of silicon which bend with the sheet, thus avoiding gaps between the fields of view of adjacent lenses when the sheet is bent into different forms.

    "The adaptive lens array we have developed is an important step towards making the concept of flexible sheet cameras viable," said Nayar

    The scientists say that such a system could lead to cameras the size of a credit card that a photographer simply flexes to control its field of view. If the technology could be manufactured cheaply, like a roll of plastic or fabric, it could be wrapped around anything, from a street lamp to a car, or even a person. 


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