Lensless Camera Takes Photos That Are Always In Focus

Lensless Camera Takes Photos That Are Always In Focus

Bell Labs' prototype camera set to revolutionze the way cameras are built.

Keerthana Jagadeesh
  • 6 june 2013

Bell Labs, Jersey have invented a camera that eschews the traditional glass lens that guides light to form images. The set up of a modern camera involves a glass lens that focuses light onto sensors to produce the best quality picture.

In Bell Labs’ prototype camera, the absence of a glass lens is used to maximize the utility of the data captured by the photoelectric sensors. The single-pixel prototype camera has a series of transparent openings in an LCD array through which light passes and strikes a RGB sensor. A computer controls and protects the data captured by the RGB sensor and puts out an image that is focused.


The camera uses a technology called “compressive sensing” which builds images by comparing the data they receive from each aperture. Larger the amount of light information that strikes the photoelectric sensors, the higher the resolution of the final photograph that the camera pieces together.  However, this comparison process takes a long time and the camera can only process data from still life images that don’t offer as much data as a moving image.

Although the prototype camera still yields a low quality final image, it is being used to research the potential of compressive sensing which could make reduce the size and cost of future cameras.

Bell Labs

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