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One-pixel camera: a different kind of snapshot

The power of one. Scientists at Rice University are fascinated with that number, and they have invented a single-pixel camera that they say will cut costs for digital imaging in the future.

That single pixel is possible through a combination of a photodiode (just one) and a digital micromirror device. The camera captures one point of light a few thousand times. The resulting pixel value is a smaller, compressed version of the original.

The process is a bit time-consuming at the moment (taking full minutes to produce a “full-multiplexed” image) and still in the exploratory stages, but it is intriguing. The process can conceivably take less time because it isn’t photographing a million pixels, like modern digital cameras, but rather just one. Resolution will have to be increased, of course.

The camera technology will be shown to the public in Rochester, New York, on Oct. 11.

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