Automatic 3D Snowflake Camera: Find Out For Yourself If No Two Are Alike

A few weeks ago we challenged you to decipher a black and white image full of seemingly random white blobs. They turned out to be clumps of snowflakes photographed as they fell to the ground, and the amazing camera that captured those images can now be yours—if you have deep enough pockets.

Developed by researchers at the University of Utah, the Multi Angle Snowflake Camera, or MASC, actually uses three-separate cameras that are automatically triggered by a stack of sensitive infra-red motion sensors. The rig can photograph snowflakes as small as 100 micrometers, or just over an inch across, with exposures as fast as 1/25,000 of a second to freeze (pardon the pun) them in action.

But the best part is that the MASC rig is a 'set it and forget it' kind of affair. All you need to do is mount it somewhere there's snow falling, and it will automatically capture detailed 3D images whenever a snowflake passes in front of the camera's lenses. And its creators have started a spin-off company to sell the camera which is great news for photographers hoping to up their winter game. But given their only customer to date has been the US Army, the MASC is probably only an option for scientists and research types with unlimited funding. [Fallgatter Technologies via Yahoo]