Flat Camera Thinner Than A Dime

Rice University engineers introduce FlatCam, which is little more than a thin sensor chip with a mask that replaces lenses in a traditional camera. Making it practical are the sophisticated computer algorithms that process what the sensor detects and converts the sensor measurements into images and videos. Traditional cameras are shrinking, driven by their widespread adoption in smartphones. But they all require lenses - and the post-fabrication assembly required to integrate lenses into cameras raises their cost. FlatCam does away with those issues in a camera that is also thin and flexible enough for applications that traditional devices cannot serve. FlatCams can be fabricated like microchips, with the precision, speed, and the associated reduction in costs. Without lenses, the most recent prototype is thinner than a dime.