A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has incorporated light sensors into polymer fibers to create a flexible fabric that can detect the angle, intensity, phase, and wavelength of light hitting it, information that can be used to create an image of an object without a lens.
The team wove multimaterial fibers together with eight sensors grouped in pairs consisting of an inner and outer sensor. These thin fibers were then woven into a 10 sq cm section of fabric. When light hits the sensors, it creates an electrical current which transmits the information to a computer. The careful positioning of the light-sensitive sensors means that the team knew which signals were being sent by which sensors.
In this podcast Yoel Fink, associate professor of materials science at MIT, describes the history of the multimaterial fibers and the design behind the imaging fabric, as well as some applications for the technology.