Glasgow Uni scientists develop single-pixel camera

A megapixel Fijufilm camera. A team of scientists at Glasgow University has developed a single-pixel camera. Picture: AP

A megapixel Fijufilm camera. A team of scientists at Glasgow University has developed a single-pixel camera. Picture: AP

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Less is more. It’s an idiom that improves almost anything—your cooking, your wardrobe—but it’s an approach often resisted by tech firms.

A team of researchers at Glasgow University have sought to challenge the pre-eminence of mega-pixel cameras with technology that needs just a single pixel to produce an image.

It is hoped that the single-pixel camera, a cheap alternative to its multi-million pixel counterparts, could have future applications in medicine and science.

According to the Gist, the single-pixel sensor works by “using crossword-like patterns to mask and illuminate different parts of the sensor, while detecting the backscattered light.” The process is performed thousands of time in the span of just a few seconds. Full-colour photos, 3D images can be taken with the addition of two and three single-pixel sensors respectively, and infrared and ultraviolet pictures are also possible.

While the technology is unlikely to find its way onto mobile phones, it could be a major step towards generating cheap, reliable images for use in other practical settings such as medical diagnosis and infrared microscopy.

The technology is on display at the Hunterian Museum as part of the Glasgow Science Festival until September 27.

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