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5 of the World’s Most Amazing Cameras
Photography has come a long way in recent years. Consumer cameras are ever more powerful, sensitive, and deliver better results than ever before. The same breathtaking pace of progress is also evident in the non-commercial sector. Some of the most amazing cameras in the world are ones that most of us know very little about. However, they’re often used in a host of essential settings. We look at five of the world’s most amazing cameras and how they’re used.
1. Worldview 3 – Satellite Camera
The Worldview 3 is a satellite camera that provides services such as Google and Bing with their aerial photography. Digital Globe launched the satellite in 2014, and it orbits at around 360 miles away from the Earth. It was the first commercial satellite to have a 25cm resolution. This means that each pixel of the pictures the Worldview 3 takes represents a 25cm x 25cm square. Before its launch, applications such as Google Earth had to rely on a 70cm resolution instead. The Worldview 3 is no doubt a marvel of modern technology, as it can also capture images through smoke and other environmental conditions.
2. ARGUS-IS – Surveillance Camera
The ARGUS-IS is a 1.8 gigapixel surveillance camera that is used to track multiple targets over a wide terrain. DARPA funded the autonomous, real-time, ground ubiquitous imaging system (hence the ARGUS-IS acronym). It can monitor and record every moving object in a staggering 36 square mile radius from 20,000 feet up.
The ARGUS is mounted on a number of drone-like devices, yet the inner-workings of the actual camera are rather more straightforward. It uses an array of 368 5-megapixel camera chips that combine to cover footage in a wide area.
3. LSST – Survey Telescope
The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is currently under construction in Chile. When it’s complete, it will feature a camera with a massive 3.2 gigapixel sensor, the biggest ever created. Unlike the Worldview 3, this sensor is absolutely colossal and will weigh roughly three tonnes. The impressive camera will have a resolution equivalent to around 800,000 8-megapixel cameras.
The LSST’s primary goal is to photograph the entire southern sky to create a detailed map of the various stars and galaxies there. It will take photos of the whole nightscape every few days, enabling scientists to understand some of the fundamentals of the universe.
4. The World’s Fastest Cameras
MIT’s Media Lab is developing the world’s fastest camera. It’s so fast that it can track pulses of light moving through space. This amazing feat means that the camera has an effective frame rate of an insane 3 trillion frames per second. A series of images are compiled to capture a packet of light photons moving through a cloudy liquid, a process that takes just one billionth of a second.
In Japan, scientists have created a system known as STAMP which can capture footage at a mind-blowing 4.4 trillion frames per second.
5. The World’s Smallest Cameras
The Micro Scout Cam is a minuscule camera that measures just 1.2mm across, yet still captures footage at 224 x 220 pixels. They are often built into capsules that can be swallowed, meaning that medical professionals can see a detailed view of a patient’s digestive system.
NASA has also been developing tiny and lightweight cameras built into invertebrate robots that are used to explore the smaller, inaccessible areas of the International Space Station.