When today’s digital cameras regularly boast a capacity of 20 megapixels or more, it may seem strange that anyone would spend anytime developing a camera with one single, solitary pixel as its offering. After all, what can you get from a single pixel but a solid square of color, right? How in heaven’s name would that be a worthwhile use of a photographer’s time?
The key here lies in the understanding that photography is not simply the replication of an exact image of 3D reality on a 2D media. Instead, the camera is a tool for creating an image that the photographer wishes to convey. So, while a single pixel camera probably won’t be the tool of choice to photograph your niece’s wedding or other special occasion anytime soon, it is a worthwhile effort that creates some interesting images.
Of more direct interest to our readership, this single pixel camera was created using 3D printing technology. It’s a fairly complex creation and so most likely won’t be a Shapeways download, but its inventor, Ben Greer, is hopeful that others will involve themselves in further refining the design.
His quest grew out of years of experimentation with images and with subjects that were deserving of photographs and so he began to consider the ways in which he could create an image-processing device. Rather than turning to the 6th grade science project of making a pinhole camera to capture an image on film, Greer was more ambitious: he wanted a digital camera that could capture images in color, and he wanted to build it himself. Oh, and he also wanted it to be inexpensive, using what he already had on hand: a single color light sensor, various and sundry electronic components, and… a 3D printer. … (Read more)