According to YouTuber Sean Hodgins, also a hardware hacker, it turns out that making your own camera sensor is not as complicated as people think. You only need a solid understanding of electronics, the ability to be patient, the ability to hold the soldering torch as well as not to expect the quality of image sensors that you create yourself.
The general idea of how the camera sensor works is also not that simple: a dense network of light-sensitive cells that record color and intensity data as light shines on them. The main difference is their density on the sensor. If you want to create tens of millions of pixels of Sony-like image sensors yourself, you’ll probably need another tool to replace the soldering iron.
Camera sensor with a resolution of 1,024 pixels made by Hodgins
And with the tools at hand, Hodgins has created a sensor to capture images with a resolution of only 32×32 pixels, meaning the pixel density is only 1 / 12,000 of the 12MP sensors commonly found on phones. Even so, the creation of this sensor is still a significant achievement because Hodgins must manually 1,024 ALS-PT19 type pixels into the circuit board he designed. It is a test of patience and endurance that most of us can hardly pass.
Since no other company wants to try to put a manual image sensor like this on his product, he is forced to build a camera himself to see how the image from this sensor is of good quality. Here are his achievements.
To do so, the board also comes with a pair of 32bit analogue multiplexers and a microcontroller that selects each pixel to record the light when it reaches the sensor. While this process takes place almost immediately on the regular sensor of the camera or phone, Hodgins sensor takes nearly 5 seconds for all the pixels on the sensor to capture light.
With such a long exposure process, you must ensure that both the camera and the photographed object remain stationary in the process for the sharpest image. This is probably the most low-tech digital camera ever created, but it shares the same principles with the most powerful video recording devices we use every day. And here is the work from this image sensor.
With such quality, Sony certainly won’t have to worry that one day this guy’s homemade camera sensor could overtake their top spot in the world of photography. Perhaps things would be different if Hodgins had a multi-million dollar laboratory and the most advanced machines available today.
Sean Hodgins and the process of making his own camera sensors
Refer to Gizmodo