Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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credit card binoculars

1mm thick binocular shaped like a credit card
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
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Absolutely flat binoculars can be made given a flat imaging system based upon microlens arrays, CMOS imaging chips, and an oled array with a software-driven angle magnifier. This should be reduceable to a 1mm thick credit-card format at low cost.
molecat, Jan 24 2007

Analog Version, with built-in Light http://www.amazon.c...fying/dp/B000COHFP2
$4.25 at Amazon. [the_jxc, Jan 26 2007]

Compact Folding Binocular http://www.promoped.../Detail/37285/BIN-6
Fold-flat or collapsible binoculars and/or operaglasses are available as small as 100mm X 90mm for easy portability in a shirt pocket. As with the ones depicted in this link, most have only a low power lens (e.g., 5X), and are often made of waterproof laminated cardboard which can be printed for promotional advertising. While not a simple single millimeter thick (and not as techno-savvy as a microlens array flat imaging system), I can imagine a similarly designed product that is perhaps the length and width of a standard credit card, but necessarily the depth of 3 credit cards in order to accomodate the top plate, bottom plate and a two-part collapsing lens and eyepiece plate. [jurist, Jan 26 2007, last modified Jan 27 2007]


       //This should be reduceable to a 1mm thick credit-card format at low cost//   

       I see you list your assumptions conscientiously. 1mm is awfully thin, especially when you are hoping for a quality lens system. Oh wait, are you suggesting that we look at the flat (2"X3") face upon which the image is displayed, or looking end-on ie 1mmX75mm cross section you are looking at???? I'd wager that the first option is more viable. Simply that for the resolution and image quality required for decent binocular-type zoom (say 10X) you'll need a decent size lens.
Custardguts, Jan 24 2007

       I don't understand anything in the above descriptions with the exception of "????".
phundug, Jan 24 2007

       Translated: are we magnifying the light hitting the face of the credit card, or one of it's edges?   

       I'm guessing 'face'.
daseva, Jan 24 2007

       Hi CG, Think fly's eye, with about 1 micron pixels and a say 100micron wide aspheric lenses. Admittedly this is somewhat low resolution, but the general idea is an array of CMOS imagers on one face of the card, each behind a microlens. These basically record all of the light rays entering the card within the resolution of the array. We know the entry point of the ray, its angle of entry, its intensity and color. These 5 values then are software mapped to the other surface, imm away where a similar but smaller array of OLED emitters are in corresponding positions behind a lens array of similar design. As with all telescopes, we map incoming rays to outgoing rays with an angular magnification. So the exit pupil is smaller than the entrance. To do this for both eyes requires something a bit wider than a credit card, but it seems just now possible to build such a product, even to make it able to image thermal targets in the 10 micron region given an uncooled microbolometer array. It would be cool to do this in a card form factor that would fit in a wallet. By the way, the battery is a <1mm thick Lithium Ion Polymer from Li Tech in Tucson, they've built several designs for my company (Coherent.)
molecat, Jan 24 2007

       Oh ok, that sounds a little better.   

       IIRC you will have troubles with the distributed/compound eye type array of sensors, you'll need some tricky software in order to get your resolution up. In other words, your sensor is better off at the focal point of a single lens, as opposed to trying to coherently coordinate inputs from a distributed array. I'm sure people much smarter than me have solved this problem already.   

Custardguts, Jan 25 2007

       Oh. I think I like this. (I thought this was going to be one of those pedestal-mounted put -in- your- quarter- and- look- for- 40- seconds type tourist binocs, but built to suck down your life savings instead.)
lurch, Jan 26 2007

       er dare i ask why would one need bino's sooo thin?, peeping-tom disorder anyone? plausable deniability..   

       no thanks, i'd rather grandads WW1 calathumpians.
Stork, Jan 26 2007

       Sort of baked.   

       I've seen adds for a credit-card-sized magnifying glass with a built-in LED light. Specifically for reading tiny restaurant menus in dimly-lit dining rooms.
the_jxc, Jan 26 2007

       //I've seen adds for a credit-card-sized magnifying glass with a built-in LED light. Specifically for reading tiny restaurant menus in dimly-lit dining rooms.//   

       Not exactly the same thing. This is a new idea. What you are talking about is a small mangnifying class. You cannot see far distances with a magnifying glass the same way you can with binoculars.
Jscotty, Jan 26 2007

       molecat: even if you can't get this much thinner than, say, a Canon Elph, I think you would find a ready market for this with the gear-heads who keep Sharper Image in business.   

       Btw, the Owl, which uses a Fresnel lens, is not nearly as good in real life as the TV ads would have you believe. I have a much better version, albeit somewhat thicker, that uses a regular lens and a stronger light, that is invaluable in dimly lit restaurants.
DrCurry, Jan 26 2007

       This device would be the ultimate computer controlled optical device, and could easily be adapted to spectacles and an eye tracking camera to provide a roving telescope for those with macular degeneration. In fact, an implanted corneal telescope has been suggested as an aid for macular degeneration, but this approach is non invasive.
molecat, Jan 27 2007


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