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Date: 20/01/2013 | By: Heather

First mirrorless, and now lens-less? The invention of the first metamaterial camera!


First mirrorless, and now lens-less? The invention of the first metamaterial camera!

We’ve all heard of mirrorless technology, but what about lens-less technology?

At Duke University in the United States, scientists and engineers have used a copper-based metamaterial (or, artificial materials which do not exist in nature) to create a lens-less imaging sensor for cameras to be implemented in airport security and law enforcement.

The metamaterial is essentially a 40 cm wide aperture within the camera. Using microwaves, it can obtain images even through solid material such as a person’s clothes or wood, making it very useful for security purposes. By connecting the metamaterial to an image-reconstructing computer, images can be generated almost in real-time. Image compression is performed by the sensor rather than by the processor hardware we commonly see in digital cameras today. This will result in better image compression than that of JPEGs.

While once very expensive, metamaterials are continually dropping in price, making them all the more accessible for everyday use. Perhaps, one day, we will see metamaterials being used in digital cameras as well. Only time will tell.

Sources: Post Gazette and

Photo credit: What my Microwave is for by bcmom (Anna) on Flickr (Creative Common License CC BY 2.0

About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

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