Researchers at Princeton and the University of Washington have developed an ultracompact camera the size of a grain of salt. The camera can capture 720x720 images in full color and wavelengths between 400 and 700 nm, similar to regular camera lens setups that are up to 500,000 times larger. In the future, the new camera could be implemented into smartphones turning your phone into one giant camera.

How It Works: The new micro camera uses a circular "metasurface" that contains 1.6 million cylindrical posts to capture an image compared to traditional cameras, which use curved lenses. The posts function like optical antennas, bending light so the entire array can shape the optical wavefront. Machine learning algorithms then process and de-blur the incoming data to produce high-quality images. It’s the first known system to use a front-end surface optical technology and neural network processing in the back.

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