Camera shapes have evolved a bit as technology makes components smaller and more versatile, but some Columbia University researchers have a drastic new idea about what a camera can look like. They have presented an interesting concept “sheet” camera that uses an array of small lenses on a flexible surface.
The idea is to be able to literally wrap a camera around a surface like the exterior of a car or a light post on the sidewalk. Using an array of lenses with variable focal lengths, the lenses can adjust to cover the entire field of view.
The sample images don’t look spectacular quite yet, but there’s a rather immense amount of software tech that needs to be involved here to interpret and present the image data.
Ultimately, we may never see a consumer product that looks anything like this, and the idea of a truly flexible camera sheet may never even come to fruition, but I personally love reading about concepts like this. Cameras have come such a long way and have so much interesting potential going forward. It’s a good time to be a camera nerd.