Say cheese: Duke University to make gigapixel camera available to public via Kickstarter

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Last year, engineers from Duke University unveiled a prototype camera called the Aware2, a ultra-high-resolution, multi-gigapixel shooter containing 98 1/2.3-inch, 14-megapixel sensors that simultaneously shoots through a single lens and stitches them together to create photograph with incredible levels of detail. Although portable and mobile, the 205-pound camera isn’t something you could toss in your bag. Besides, at the time, the project was funded by the U.S. government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and was in no way available for public use.

Things have changed since then. As Imaging Resources reported, Duke is now planning to bring four versions of the camera to the public, ranging from a 160-sensor model to one that is made of 1,000 cameras. This will be done through a new company called Aqueti, a spin-off of Applied Quantum Technologies, itself a spin-off from Duke University that is responsible for preparing Duke’s research for commercialization. But, lacking the kind of funding DARPA provides, Aqueti is reaching out to the public to help fund the project, called Carolina Zoomin’, through none other than Kickstarter

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Comparing an image from a phone with one from the Aware2 camera.

Before you whip out the credit card in hopes of owning one, know that it’s not for sale. The Kickstarter campaign will allow anyone with deep pockets to rent an Aware2 camera for the day. For $10,000, you can take total control of the camera and use it to shoot at your event, provided it’s within North Carolina. If that’s too rich for your blood, you can use the camera for $2,500 but you wouldn’t own the rights to the images captured. Still, $2,500 is a lot for most folks, but for $450 you can buy the opportunity to shoot one non-commercial image or 25 for $1,000. (So far, the project has raised only $625 of its $25,000 goal, but there are still 23 days left.) There are other more-affordable options available, as well, via the project’s Kickstarter page.

(Images via Aqueti)

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