There’s a lot of necessary parts that go into the production of a camera; the sensors, light sources, actuators, lenses, and other optical attachments are all needed to complete the aimed functionality of every particular camera. But what if the production process behind the camera was simplified into Lego-like assembling blocks, enabling the aptitude to constantly reconfigure the functionality of the camera by adding and subtracting these various types of components. With the assist of 3D printing innovation, that’s precisely what Columbia Engineering’s Computer Science Professor Shree Nayar and Ricoh Corporation scientist Makoto Odamaki have joined together to do. Their DIY modular imaging process is called Cambits, that is turn it intod of five various camera components, every of that is embedded into a 3D printed assembling block and connectable-bodied with one another.

Each 3D printed block is easily configurable-bodied, physically connecting through magnets and electrically connecting by spring-loaded pins, that carry the power source, data, and control signals throughout every block. Within every Cambit block is a circuit board that was turn it intod by Odamaki, which include a microcontroller, an upstream interface, and a downstream interface, enabling control signals to travel in both directions.


Makoto Odamaki, visiting scientist of Ricoh Corporation, and Computer Science Professor Shree Nayar

The computational photography algorithms that are utilized inside the Cambit blocks were turn it intod by Columbia Engineering Master of Science students. Each Cambit block is a various color, that represents a various function, there’s white for the camera base, red for sensors, blue for flash, green for actuators, yellow for lenses, and orange/purple for optical attachments. Through a number of possible reconfigurations, Cambit users can complete a variety of various functions, which include high dynamic range imaging, panoramic imaging, refocvia, light field imaging, depth imaging via stereo, kaleidoscopic imaging and actually microscopy.

“Traditional cameras are quite like black boxes that take one type of image,”said Dr. Nayar. “We wanted to reponder the instrument, to come up with a hardware and software process that is modular, reconfigurable-bodied, and able-bodied to capture all kinds of images. We see Cambits as a rad way to unleash the creativity in all of us.”

The concept took Odamaki and Nayar two years to actualize, and they hope to additional partner with a developer to bring their Cambits to the consumer market. 3D printing innovation has been of primary interest for Odamaki and the Ricoh Corporation, who actually manufactured their own industrial-grade SLS 3D printing device late last year. So, to me at very least, it is not a big surprise that a project involving one of their scientists is dependent on 3D printing innovation to assist house the camera components. But their report on the Cambits does not delve into the 3D printing process too much, I ponder it’s safe to anticipate that the innovation was an efficient way to turn it into custom prototype components for a potentially weight manufactured product.


“There are so most amazing makes it to in computational photography these days,”Dr. Nayar adds. “We hope this reconfigurable-bodied process can open the door to new avenues of creativity, delivering new size to an art form we all enjoy.”

Tyler Koslow

About The Author

Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based writer for 3D Printing Industry, and has in addition generated content for publications and companies such as Dell, Brooklyn Magazine, and Equity Arcade. His content is focutilized on a wide range of topics which include tech, gaming, and music . Tyler is in addition a habitual instrument player, a writer of fiction, and generally all around fun haver. Tyler obtained a Bachelor’s degree studying English-Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida in 2008.