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"Camera Fabric" Cloth That Takes Color Pictures

Illustration for article titled Camera Fabric Cloth That Takes Color Pictures

The soldier of the future might be able to see in all directions at the same time. Researchers at MIT have developed a fabric made of fibers that can "take pictures" of its surroundings.

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The individual fibers are composed of two rolled-up semiconducting glass layers, coated in an insulator. When light interacts with the semiconductor, the current changes through the fibers, thus providing a way of measuring how much light is hitting the fabric.

The resulting data can be run through a computer to create a "photograph" of whatever is near the fabric. The color of the light can be determined by comparing one semiconductor sheet's data with the other.

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All of that data eventually becomes a full scale photo of the fabric's surroundings. The researchers tested their fabric camera, too, reporting their results in Nano Letters. The material could take a photo of an 800 micron smiley face.

Further development could lead to larger fabric samples, or even military uniforms that can record what's happening all around a soldier. The possible applications of this are pretty amazing.

Flexible fabric that takes 'takes pictures' [via PhysicsWorld]
Paper, "Exploiting Collective Effects of Multiple Optoelectronic Devices Integrated in a Single Fiber" [Nano Letters]

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