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.