If you feel that your pictures sometimes lack fine-grained detail, they probably do. At least, they do compared to photographs taken with a new supercamera developed at Duke University, which is capable of instantly acquiring images that pack in a staggering 960 million pixels.

The 93-kilo device—pictured below—stitches together images from 98 separate 14-megapixel sensors to create the images. While there have been other examples of gigapixel photography in the past, they have relied on panning a camera across a scene, sequentially recording images which are later stitched together. This device, however, captures all the images simultaneously.


The resulting images are so detailed that they can reveal a 3.8-centimeter-wide object from 1 kilometer away. The image above (click to see a bigger version) shows one of the camera's test shots of a traffic circle. The insets images are digitally magnified by a factor of 13 and show details from 15 meters to 93 meters away. The images provide a 120°-wide view, so look a little bit like the results you might expect to see from a fish-eye lens.

One challenge remains though: to make the device, which currently measures 30 x 30 x 20 inches, just a little more pocketable. [Nature]


Image by Duke courtesy of Nature