Metamaterials perform image compression before light reaches the sensor

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This metamaterial is the aperture of the new microwave imaging device. John Hunt Add image compression to the list of nifty applications for metamaterials. Metamaterials guide light waves to create “ invisibility cloaks ” and bend sound waves to make theoretical noise reduction systems for urban areas. But these materials are tuned to particular wavelengths; some invisibility cloaks don’t work at all visible wavelengths because they leak those wavelengths of light. Now researchers have capitalized on that leakiness to build a new functional device: a microwave imaging system that compresses an image as it’s being collected—not afterward as our digital cameras do. Every pixel in a picture from our digital cameras corresponds to a pixel of information recorded on the detector inside the camera. Once a camera collects all the light intensity information from a scene, it promptly discards some of it and compresses the data into a JPEG file (unless you explicitly tell it to save raw data). You still end up with a decent picture, though, because most of the discarded data was redundant. Compressive sensing aims to ease this process by reducing the amount of data collected in the first place. One way to do this is with a single pixel camera , developed in 2006. These devices capture information from random patterns of pixels around the image, essentially adding the light intensity values of several pixels together. If you know something about the structure of that image—say clusters of bright stars set against a dark sky—you’ll be able to capture that image with fewer measurements than a traditional camera. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Metamaterials perform image compression before light reaches the sensor

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