From the daguerrotype, to the Polaroid, to the Jam Cam, we've now come to this:
A newly-developed camera the size of a grain of salt can take clear, full-color images—at the level of cameras that are 500,000 times larger.
Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington created a new type of optical system, called a metasurface, to shrink the camera's hardware down to size, and combined this with machine-learning image processing that enables the camera to produce clear images in natural lighting. Previously, micro-cameras could only produce useful images in perfect laboratory settings, according to the researchers. Their work is published in the journal Nature.
Look at the image comparison between the older models of micro-cameras compared to the new system:
Each camera consists of 1.6 million cylindrical posts which interact with light to produce the images. These posts are as small as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The surfaces are made from silicon nitride, a material that makes them compatible with computing microchip manufacturing. This means they'd be cheaper and faster to produce than current full-size camera lenses.
Sounds like this will have major implications for technology, health, medicine and other fields, though with all modern photo technology I'd be willing to bet that about 90% of its application will ultimately go toward duck-face selfies:
I'm also willing to bet that the totalitarians out there are salivating over this thing.
China could put a hundred of these cameras on the end of a pen. Just think of what the commies could do with billions of these suckers plastering every inch of reality.