Ultra-compact Imaging Technology
FlatCam develops ultra-compact, cost-effective, lightweight imaging systems for microscopy, endoscopy, the Internet of Things, and other applications. The imaging platform replaces the lenses of traditional camera designs with a thin, specially-designed light-modulating mask and efficient computational algorithm to create very small form-factor cameras that can capture quality images for both photography and microscopy. This shift in design leads to benefits in privacy, three-dimensional imaging, and field-of-view.
Jesse Adams co-founded FlatCam in 2018 with Richard Baraniuk, Jacob Robinson and Ashok Veeraraghavan, all professors at Rice University, where Adams is currently completing his Ph.D. in applied physics. Adams has extensive research experience in optics, nanofabrication and imaging devices. He received a B.S. in physics from the University of North Florida. In 2018, Adams won the LDV Vision Summit, Entrepreneurial Computer Vision Challenge. FlatCam’s technology has been featured by NPR, NSF Science 360 News, Fox’s Xploration Station, and others.
Cameras are being integrated into many facets of our personal and professional lives, from entertainment to health to industry. Current camera designs are limited in size, cost, and weight, impeding the development of emerging applications. FlatCam devices can overcome these limitations while addressing specific applications needed for the Internet of Things (size and cost); microscopy and endoscopy (size); imaging for miniature drones (size and weight) and other use cases.
FlatCam’s first market hypothesis addresses the need for small form-factor, cost-effective imaging systems for the Internet of Things (IoT). FlatCam technology allows for ultracompact, lightweight, inexpensive cameras that can be used to replace bulkier cameras or include cameras where unfeasible before. Rather than collecting direct images, FlatCam’s technology optically encodes data that is then computationally deciphered using proprietary algorithms. Because of this, the technology could have broad privacy protection applications, such an anonymizing people in public spaces.
Successfully implemented, FlatCam will enable new imaging capabilities in areas previously unreachable, enhancing user experience and providing new data for IoT applications.
Potential for Impact
Society has seen significant economic, social, and cultural benefits from the exponential growth of digital imaging and increasingly affordable and embedded cameras. However, traditional camera modules are reaching the limits of miniaturization due to strict physical requirements of focal distance between lenses and accompanying imaging sensors. By replacing lensed cameras with its advanced, lensless imaging platform, FlatCam’s technology has the potential to transform how and where cameras can be used. In doing so, it can impact everything from how we deliver healthcare to how we manage security and infrastructure.
info [at] flatcam [dot] com
Banner image: Dmitry Bayer