We've seen liquid camera lenses
and cameras shaped like an eye
, but a group of researchers from MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering are now taking things in yet another shape-shifting direction with a so-called "flexible camera" that uses a special fiber web instead of traditional lenses. Those fibers are each less than one millimeter in diameter, and are comprised of eight nested layers of light-detecting materials, which the researchers are able to form using an extrusion process like that used to make optical fiber for telecommunication applications. Once woven into a fabric, the researchers say the "camera" could be anything from a foldable telescope to a soldier's uniform that gives them greater situational awareness. Of course, they aren't saying when that might happen, although they have apparently already been able to use the fiber web to take "a rudimentary picture of a smiley face."