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This camera is so tiny it can be injected with a syringe

University of Stuttgart/Timo Gissibl

Researchers at the University of Stuttgart in Germany have designed a micro-camera so small it can fit inside a syringe. The scientists believe that the new device can be used to explore areas of the body that cameras previously couldn't access, as well as surveillance devices and machines with "autonomous vision."

Slightly smaller than a grain of salt

The researchers, who published their findings in Nature Photonics, managed to 3D-print a three-lens camera that, with its casing, is just 0.12 millimeters wide — slightly smaller than a grain of salt. The team believes that 3D printing could represent the future of manufacturing, since current techniques can't produce lenses small enough to be used in important medical contexts like non-invasive endoscopic imaging. Since the camera can fit inside a syringe and can focus from a distance of 3mm, it could potentially be used to capture images from inside human organs or even the brain.

The camera can also be used for surveillance, as it can be integrated into tiny security monitors, drones, illumination systems, or even robots. More research needs to be done, but the device presents some exciting possibilities.