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The Pentagon's Super Spy Camera
It is five times sharper in detail than the human eye. It uses spherical lens, first developed in the later 19th century (it mimics the human eye). It has 100 microcameras each with a 14 megapixel sensor attached to a sphere the size of a football. The camera takes 100 super sharp photos and the computer software then stitches them together. It weighs 100 lbs, the overall size is two stacked microwave ovens and it takes 18 seconds to take a photo.
This is the Pentagon's secretly funded spy camera called, Aware-2. The project has cost $25 million and its target audience is spy satellites and land based surveillance. Once the photo is taken, the user can zoom into any portion of it to view in extreme detail. It is really amazing to be take a photo of a sign a half mile away and be able to read it. The same applies to license plates. The user can also zoom in on two different objects at different distances in detail.
This is an early version of a gigapixel camera with wide angle. A few telescopes already are in use with gigapixel but have a narrow view, much like a megapixal camera. The big challenge is to somehow shrink this camera into something much smaller so it can be more portable.
Engineers feel that maybe by 2016-18, the technology will have shrunk enough to be used in the first consumer gigapexel cameras.