No, these aren’t the standard point-and-shoots, or even DSLRs, but rather high-tech cameras that have moved beyond the concept stage, and into reality. We cover everything from a camera ball (above) to one that can capture images at the speed of light. Continue reading to see them all.

5. Human Eye Camera

German researchers at the Technical University of Munich have developed a super speedy robotic camera that mimics the human eye. In technical terms, “the camera mount features three degrees of movement, and can flick around at a rapid 2500 degrees per second.” The system, propped on a person’s head, uses a custom made eye-tracker to monitor the person’s eye movements. It then precisely reproduces those movements using a superfast actuator-driven mechanism with yaw, pitch, and roll rotation, like a human eyeball.

[Sources 1 | 2]

4. Camera Ball

Designed by Jonas Pfeil, this high-tech camera ball “is not only designed for throwing, but in doing so, takes a 360-degree panorama of wherever you are [using] 36 cellphone camera sensors placed around the outside of the ball, protected by foam.” When you grab the ball and throw it into the air, the onboard accelerometer calculates the apogee – the point where the ball is stationary at the top of the arc – and it captures the entire scene.


3. TS3Cine

Unlike other digital cameras, the TS3Cine is capable of shooting high-definition 1280 x 720 video at an impressive 720fps. At $29,900, it “can handle about 3 hours of shooting on a single charge, and has a built-in SSD that can hold up to 256GB of video.” That’s not all, “the camera even has a self-contained 7-inch LCD screen, so you can see exactly what you’re shooting right away.”


2. Lytro

Unlike other cameras, the Lytro Light Field Camera gives whole new life to still images by letting users focus after the shot is taken, rather than before. Basically, “it features an array of microlenses set a short distance in front of the sensor [and] instead of focusing light down into a single pixel as they would in a conventional camera, these are designed to split the information across multiple pixels, depending on the angle from which they’ve arrived.” The Lytro then saves your image in a proprietary file format to deliver a “living picture” that you can manipulate on your computer, much like a raw file. By manipulating key attributes, you can effectively change the focus of the image. That’s right: After the image has been taken.

[1 Review | 2]

1. Speed of Light Camera

You read that right, researchers at the MIT media lab have developed a camera that’s capable of recording light traveling from one point to another, thanks in part to its “shutter speed” of one trillion exposures per second. While utilizing “a heavily modified Streak Tube (which is normally used to intensify photons into electron streams), the team could snap a single image of a laser as it passed through a soda bottle.”


Bonus Video