German engineers have designed a camera no bigger than a grain of salt that is expected to change the future of health imaging and clandestine surveillance. Researchers from the University of Stuttgart designed a three-lens camera, and fit it onto the end of an optical fibre the width of two hairs by using 3D printing.
This technology could also be deployed in virtually invisible security monitors, or small robots along with autonomous vision. Such technology may be used as minimally-intrusive endoscopes for evaluating inside the human body, the engineers reported in the journal Nature Photonics. Furthermore, an Endoscopic application is expected to allow for non-invasive and non-destructive examination of small objects in the medical as well as the industrial sector,” they wrote.
The micro camera lens is just 100 micrometres (0.1 millimetres or 0.004 inches) wide, and 120 micrometres with its casing. The micro camera can focus on images from a distance of 3.0 mm, and transmit them over the length of a 1.7 metre over optical fibre to which it is attached.
The lense can also be printed onto image sensor other than optical fibres, such as those used in digital cameras.