This microscopic camera is the work of the Fraunhofer Institute and image sensor company Awaiba. It’s essentially a tiny 1mm square substrate with a layer of image sensors and then a lens layer on top of that — giving this camera a total size of 1x1x1mm. Yeah, it’s pretty much the smallest camera ever.
The resolution is 250×250, and it sends its signal over an electrical wire instead of a fiber optic cable. The camera unit is so cheap to make that they consider them disposable — making them ideal for use in the medical world for things like endoscopy. The extremely small size also makes them good for embedded applications like motion detection, security, or eliminating driver blind spots and such.
As always with small-aperture, small-sensor cameras, the image quality is suspect, but in this case it’s not a consumer application and they’re not marketing it as a replacement for a point-and-shoot or anything. They hope to bring them to market in 2012.
It does make the world a creepier place — there could be cameras the size of salt grains all over my apartment and I wouldn’t know. Scary.