Southern Methodist University researchers are taking a different approach to producing photo and video images for military surveillance cameras outfitted on unmanned aerial vehicles and helmets. Walt Maciborski of The 33 news broadcast in Dallas reported July 8 on research in the lab of Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Marc Christensen.

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By Walt Maciborski
KDAF: The 33
DALLAS — Cutting edge micro cameras are being developed in a basement lab at Southern Methodist University. The project is code-named Panoptes, more on its name later.

Associate Professor Marc Christensen says his undergraduate and graduate researchers at SMU’s Photonic Architectures Lab are about to take a giant leap into the future of photography.

“What we’re working on here is trying to develop the next generation of cameras,” Christensen says.

Christensen’s team is creating video and still cameras that are as thin as about two credit cards, covered with tiny mirrored lenses.

“The original program was driven by the department of defense, (because) they have a need to have tactical imagery, and they don’t want to only have it on platforms that are as large as a Predator UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), ” Christensen says. “They would like to fit this camera on something the size of a model airplane or something that could fit in the palm of your hand.”

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