Panasonic's New Sensor Captures 3D Images With A Single Lens

Using similar techniques that enable the Nintendo 3DS to display 3D images without the need for special glasses, Panasonic has developed a new image sensor that can capture 3D stills and videos without the need for multiple lenses.

Using lenticular lenses and a layer composed of digital micro lenses to further focus the light hitting the sensor, the system could in theory give any camera 3D capabilities, from expensive DSLRs to cheap point-and-shoots.

While there is some tomfoolery being done with post-processing to produce the final 3D images, Panasonic claims the depth calculated by its algorithms and the actual depth of objects in the scene only differs by about 5 per cent. And that's presumably going to be improved even further by the time these sensors are rolled out in mobile devices starting some time in 2014.