Researchers create camera fabric

July 8, 2009 // 2:06 p.m.

Tags: #camera #camera-fabric #candid-camera #lens #massachusetts-institute-of-technology #voyeur #wearable

If you've ever wanted your own digital Shroud of Turin, talk to the guys over at MIT: they've come up with a fabric which has the properties of a camera.

As reported by CNet, the team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been able to create a working prototype of a fabric which is able to act like a – very simple, admittedly – camera.

The fabric – which is created from a mesh of light-sensitive fibres less than a millimetre in diameter – is capable of detecting two frequencies of light and sending a signal which can be amplified to produce an image of the fabrics surroundings. So far the team has been using it to reproduce a smiley face image on a nearby computer.

Describing the work carried out by his team to technical journal Nano Letters, associate professor of materials science Yoel Fink claimed that the breakthrough represents “the first time that anybody has demonstrated that a single plan of fibres, or 'fabric', can collect images just like a camera but without a lens.

The technology promises numerous applications – beyond the obvious utility to voyeurs – including the possibility of increasing the amount of information available to a soldier regarding threats in any direction. As the woven fabric is capable of resisting damage – only the fibres in a particular damaged area will stop operating – it also holds promise for more rugged cameras, and as the material is flexible you could wave bye-bye to worries about scratching your camera lens.

Does the technology hold promise, or is the thought of a camera that can only see two colours bore you – even if it covers your entire body and can see in 360 degrees? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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