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Pinhead-size camera developed at Cornell

ITHACA — A camera that fits on the head of a pin has been developed in a Cornell University lab.

Researchers say it could revolutionize a variety of scientific pursuits from surgery to robotics.

The lens-less camera was invented in the lab of Alyosha Molnar, Cornell assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. The working prototype is detailed online in the journal Optics Letters.

Patrick Gill, a postdoctoral associate who led the development team, says the device could be useful as part of an implantable system for imaging inside the body.

Another use might be to provide a simple visual system allowing a micro-robot to navigate.

Gill’s camera is a flat piece of silicon that looks like a tiny CD and costs just a few cents to make.