The camera generally has one main lens and produces a flat, two-dimensional photograph; But what if your digital camera saw the world through thousands of tiny lenses, each a miniature camera unto itself? You'd get a 2-D photo, but you'd also get something potentially more valuable: an electronic "depth map" containing the distance from the camera to every object in the picture, a kind of super 3-D. Stanford electronics researchers, lead by electrical engineering Professor Abbas El Gamal, are developing such a camera, built around their "multi-aperture image sensor." They've shrunk the pixels on the sensor to 0.7 microns, several times smaller than pixels in standard digital cameras. They've grouped the pixels in arrays of 256 pixels each, and they're preparing to place a tiny lens atop each array.
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