Researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, from the MIT Media Lab have developed a new imaging device that consists of a loose bundle of optical fibres with no need for lenses or a protective housing.
For medical applications, where the diameter of the bundle -and thus the number of fibres -needs to be low, the quality of the image could be improved through the use of interferometric methods.
The fibres are connected to an array of photo sensors at one end and the other ends can be left to wave free so they could pass individually through micrometer-scale gaps in a porous membrane, to image whatever is on the other side.
Bundles of the fibres can be fed through pipes and immersed in fluids – to image oil fields, aquifers or plumbing without risking damage to watertight housings.
And tight bundles of the fibres could yield endoscopes with narrower diametres, since they would require no additional electronics.
"Previous works have used time of flight to extract depth information. But in this work, I was proposing to use time of flight to enable a new interface for imaging," explained Barmak Heshmat, a postdoc at MIT Media Lab.
Heshmat is first author on the paper, joined by associate professor of media arts and sciences Ramesh Raskar and Ik Hyun Lee, a fellow postdoc.
The researchers reported the results in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.
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