• Pelican Imaging's prototype array camera could make your pictures better, phones thinner (video)

    Tim Stevens
    Tim Stevens

    If you want to look for life on another planet you don't build one radio telescope that's miles wide, you build a bunch of smaller ones and create an array out of them. As it turns out that basic idea works for capturing visible wavelengths as well. It's called a plenoptic camera, using an array of very small lenses that, when combined, can create an image as good as a larger one. Pelican Imaging is largely interested in the slim factor this kind of system could offer, potentially allowing for thinner phones, but this could also open the door to some interesting effects. Check out the video after the break for an example of the dynamic aperture control this sort of setup can allow, where you can change the focal plane of an image after it was taken. Given the small size of the array here you probably couldn't do anything too crazy, like take a picture through a tree, but the days of poorly focused cameraphone shots might finally be at an end -- whenever this actually comes to market.