A team of researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, USA have developed the world’s first ‘gigapixel camera’ capable of scanning the entire body down to a freckle, to detect melanoma the deadliest form of skin cancer. Although resolution of the gigapixel camera is not as high as the best dermatoscope, it allows for a larger imaging area than a dermatoscope and could be used for telemedicine, which could make the routine screening available to a larger number of people, even in remote locations.
“The camera is designed to find lesions potentially indicating skin cancers on patients at an earlier stage than current skin examination techniques,” said study coauthor Daniel Marks from Duke University in North Carolina. “”Normally a dermatologist examines either a small region of the skin at high resolution or a large region at low resolution, but a ‘gigapixel’ image does not require a compromise between the two,” he added.
The gigapixel camera essentially combines 34 micro-cameras into one. With a structure similar to a telescope and its eyepieces, the camera combines a precise but simple objective lens that produces an imperfect image with known irregularities. The 34 micro-cameras are arranged in a dome to correct these aberrations and form a continuous image of the scene. The exposure time and focus for each micro-camera can be adjusted independently and a computer can do a preliminary examination of the images to determine if any areas require future attention by the specialists.