Researching engineers at the University of Stuttgart, Germany were able to develop the smallest camera in the world, one that can fit inside a syringe of just 0.12 mm diameter. It is literally so small that it is smaller in size than an average grain of salt, and that is as worrying as it is amazing.
Now we can not even begin to imagine that the conventional manufacturing can manufacture such a tiny set of lenses. This is where 3D printing comes into play as the additive manufacturing capability can help design and produce very small products. The University team was led by Timo Gissibl and Simon Thiele and it actually took them only a few hours to come with a design and finalise its manufacturing which is remarkable and can never be achieved with subtractive machining.
Since the lens is so small, it is a challenge to accommodate it inside a tiny device, but this camera packs three of these lens so it is an amazing achievement. The device encompasses all of these lens and is then attached to a fibre optic cable that is only twice as wide as the normal human hair. The revolutionary usage of this minute camera is medical science where the images from such a small camera can have revolutionary results for diagnosing problems in extremely small blood vessels and capillaries. Though the body is dark from the inside so the camera has to be paired with a smallest possible LED as well.
Apart from the smallest camera ever, the team also made a tiny spy cam that can be used in robots to have a vision of their own. They can help give small bots like insect-related ones 360-degree sight as well as changing the camera tech on an average smartphone. Now the one aspect of this camera development that is so amazing is that the prototyping of such small systems has been made easy and we can manufacture directly from CAD designs when they are fed into the 3D printing machine. It will only help technology progress faster than any rate possible before. Check out the video below for more details: