Researchers around the world are trying to improve at least two parameters of modern smartphones – their battery life and photo quality. The latter is a more complicated matter because the dimensions of smartphones are limited. Therefore, engineers have to come up with new designs. For example, American inventors suggest making the phone cameras without the lens.
In any camera, image quality depends a lot on the lens. But smartphones are thin and engineers can’t install big lenses. But researchers from the California Institute of Technology developed a chip with an optical phased grid that uses mathematical calculations as a lens replacement. Using a time delay to the light obtained at different places on the chip, it can change the focus without a lens.
Back in 2014, a team of researchers demonstrated this technology with a projector that can fit in a smartphone and turn it into a portable 3D scanner. At the moment, chip consists of an 8×8 grid with 64 sensors. The researchers are still improving the technology in order to achieve unprecedented image quality. Perhaps, we’ll soon see lensless cameras in smartphones and tablets.