Cambits is a modular camera being developed by scientists at Columbia Engineering’s Computer Vision Laboratory. It is a set of colorful plastic blocks that can be assembled into a custom camera of your choice.
There are six different types of blocks: base, image sensor, flash, actuator, lens, and optical attachment.
You can ‘build’ the camera using different combinations of the parts for different situations. The camera can be configured into one that shoots HDR or Panoramic images, one that shoots wide angle, light field, or kaleidoscope, and even one that captures microscopy.
“We wanted to redefine what we mean by a camera,” says Columbia professor Shree Nayar. “Traditional cameras are really like black boxes that take one type of image.”
“We wanted to rethink the instrument, to come up with a hardware and software system that is modular, reconfigurable, and able to capture all kinds of images,” Nayar continues. “We see Cambits as a wonderful way to unleash the creativity in all of us.”
Here’s a video showing how the system works and what it can do: