Typical high-speed cameras can record tens of thousands of frames per second. This makes it possible to capture greater detail even during an instance of rapid movement. Researchers in Japan have invented what now holds the title of the fastest camera in the world.

The new Japanese camera is capable of shooting at speeds exceeding not just thousands but trillions of frames per second.

To make this possible, researchers in Japan had to invent an entirely new way of capturing light for images. When taking a standard photograph, a camera sends out light to an object (flash) and then probes for light to create the final image (sensor). We know this process as “repetitive measurement.” Sequentially Timed All-Optical Mapping Photography (called STAMP) skips the probing step and records bursts of images at a time, allowing the camera to record even faster images that depict more intricate events.

In 2011, MIT Media Lab showcased a camera capable of recording 1 trillion frames per second. At such a fast shutter speed, viewers could begin to see the movement of light as it refracts and scatters.

STAMP in its current form is rather large (3 square feet) is aimed at scientists conducting research who can use the fast shutter speeds for observing chemical reactions and biological processes. The current model is massive and it will be some time before a consumer version is released.

This model will most likely be very expensive and far from a consumer product. With any luck, this camera could unlock new ways to learn, discover, and develop technology in ways that were previously impossible.

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