Microsoft Looking to Patent 1.4 Gigapixel Digital Camera

By Oliver VanDervoort September 30, 2011

While some technophiles tend to ignore them, digital cameras are still a massively popular gadget in some circles. Carl Zeiss, one of the top camera makers in the country is joining forces with AT&T in order to lend their camera technology to smart phones. Mirrorless cameras are also becoming quite the rage. 

These particular devices are becoming so popular that Samsung recently announced they felt as though they might sell as many as 250,000 mirrorless cameras this year. Microsoft has apparently jumped into the digital camera business with both feet, if their latest patent application is any indication.

Last week, the computer giant applied for a patent for a 1.4 gigapixel camera that was impressive for not only the supposed resolution but also how the camera actually works. Perhaps you need to read that last sentence again. This is not a 1.4 mega pixel, but gigapixel. There are few devices, camera, or not that offer up that kind of resolution. 

This particular camera would have an astounding 4,096 charged-couple devices (CCDs) inside the camera’s housing. Each CCD would be capable of taking a 0.34 mega pixel photo. These CCD images would have an overlapping capability built into every image, so that when the actual picture is put together the images combine seamlessly. 

This camera will also have a secondary camera inside the body of the bigger one, which will help pull the images together to make those ultra-high resolution pictures. Finally, there will be a thermoelectric device inside the main camera in order to keep all of those CCDs cool. While this kind of a camera might be lost on the average photo enthusiast, these super high-resolution cameras do have a use. 

Photographing astronomical events as well as slight details in very small or very old objects will become much easier with these types of cameras. When Google put a digitized version of the Dead Sea Scrolls on the web recently, they used a high-resolution camera to do it. Of course, Google did not use a high-resolution camera this good to do it, because should Microsoft actually complete this task, it would be the first camera to offer these kinds of specs.






Edited by Jennifer Russell

Contributing Writer

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