A Picture Worth 50,000 Mega-Words

August 8, 2012

Remember those not-too-distant days when people got excited about a camera with a couple of measly megapixels of resolution? Make way for the gigaage. Duke engineers have now developed a camera capable of capturing up to 50,000 megapixels—or fifty gigapixels—of data, five times better than perfect human sight.

The prototype, designed by a team led by David Brady, Michael J. Fitzpatrick Professor of electric engineering, actually uses ninety-eight tiny cameras working in unison to create its hyperdetailed images. At more than two feet wide, it’s not quite consumer-friendly yet. But researchers estimate that gigapixel-resolution cameras will be available to the general public within the next five years.