Technology.am (July 13, 2009) — MIT scientists have developed an optical-fibre mesh that can detect an image projected onto it. This is the first time that anyone has demonstrated that a single plane of fibres, can collect images just like a camera but without a lens.
Each fibre in the 100mm square fabric is less than 1mm in diameter and is formed from two concentric light-sensitive semiconductor cylinders separated and surrounded by insulating polymer layers. The semiconductors effectively measure the intensity of the light illuminating them and convert it to an electrical signal.
The signals from all the fibres are amplified and read by a computer. The fibres detect different wavelengths of light – colours, basically – and pass that information to the PC.
They placed the smiley face picture in front of the fabric and illuminated it with two wavelengths of light. Software on the PC read the signals from the fibres and used the information to reproduce on the screen what the fabric ‘sees’.
The current version of these fabrics can only image nearby objects.