Google Unveils Gigapixel Art Camera

Google Unveils Gigapixel Art Camera

Google has unveiled a new super-high resolution, digital stills camera, but not one designed to fit on the end of a selfie stick. The gigapixel Art Camera, developed by the Google Cultural Institute, is designed to shoot and archive works of art, and Google has already used the device to catalogue around 200 classic works of art, ranging from Van Gogh to Monet (Spring in Vethuil, pictured below), from galleries across the globe.

Google Unveils Gigapixel Art Camera

“A gigapixel image is made of over one billion pixels, and can bring out details invisible to the naked eye,” the Google Blog post reads. “So creating digital images in such high resolution is a complex technical challenge. You need time, highly specialized and expensive equipment, and only a few people in the world can do the job. In the first five years of the Google Cultural Institute, we’ve been able to share about 200 gigapixel images. But we want to do much more. That’s why we developed the Art Camera.”

“The capture time has been reduced drastically,” Marzia Niccolai, Technical Program Manager at the Cultural Institute, told The Verge. “Previously it could take almost a day to capture an image. To give you an idea, now if you have a one meter by one meter painting, it would take 30 minutes.”

“The Art Camera is a robotic camera, custom-built to create gigapixel images faster and more easily,” the post adds. “A robotic system steers the camera automatically from detail to detail, taking hundreds of high resolution close-ups of the painting. To make sure the focus is right on each brush stroke, it’s equipped with a laser and a sonar that—much like a bat—uses high frequency sound to measure the distance of the artwork. Once each detail is captured, our software takes the thousands of close-up shots and, like a jigsaw, stitches the pieces together into one single image.”


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