(NPR.com) When a small team of researchers recently wheeled a supercamera up to the edge of a bay at Mason Neck State Park in Northern Virginia, there was no need to point the camera at anything specific.
That’s because this camera could see everything we could see, only better.
The Duke University researchers agreed to meet with NPR and show off the latest prototype of their gigapixel camera. It looks like a big black box, the size of a minifridge, and it’s about 25 times more powerful than a top-notch digital camera you could buy in a store. It can take images composed of more than a billion pixels.
“To give you an idea of the scale of these images, if you were to print out a photograph-quality print of this image, it [would be] about 20 feet long and probably 10 [or] 12 feet tall,” says Steve Feller, project manager for the AWARE camera program.
Most people have switched from film cameras to digital ones in recent years. But our idea of a photograph hasn’t changed much. It’s still something you might print out and hang on the wall or put in an album.
This technology could change that. It can record a scene in such astonishing detail that you have to zoom down into the photo and explore it like a virtual world in order to see it all.
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