Pretty much all cameras we see today are fixed in the sense that it takes a photo of whatever it is looking at. While there are 360-degree cameras, they are also to a certain extent “fixed” in their position. However over at the Columbia University’s Computer Vision Lab, researchers have created a prototype of a camera that is flexible.
Now the question is, why would anyone want a camera that is flexible? Perhaps more traditional photographers might not necessarily see the need for it, but such technology could be invaluable in other areas of technology. For example it could be used in self-driving cars in the future where the camera could be wrapped around the edges of the car, thus providing a better view of its surroundings and covering more angles.
To help make the camera flexible, the researchers have used silicone for the prototype which looks a bit like a solar tile. The resulting image captured from their efforts looks like a weird distorted image, but in reality it is still a high quality full-sized image. One of the researchers, Dr. Shree Nayar thinks that this technology has many potential uses.
Speaking to Digital Trends, Nayar says, “We believe there are numerous applications for cameras that are large in format but very thin and highly flexible. The adaptive lens array we have developed is an important step towards making the concept of flexible sheet cameras viable.” Unfortunately the technology is obviously far from being ready for commercialization, but it is an intriguing idea nonetheless.