Graham Flint and The Gigapxl Project
Being a software geek I'm a big fan of IT Conversations, a website that has the lofty intentions of capturing all of the important IT discussions and delivering them as a podcast.
Their founder, Doug Kaye, has begun branching into other domains which is how I stumbled onto a talk with Graham Flint. Graham is a physicist who has been investigating technologies to take ultra high resolution images.
By "ultra" I mean freakin' stupidly huge. His latest camera can take four gigapixel images.
It turns out that there's a number of interesting applications for such images. High quality VR demands such images. Archival imagery (for preservation of historical data) requires as high a resolution as possible. Astronomy is another domain that would benefit. The list goes on.
However, as you can imagine, there are many technical difficulties when trying to capture such an image. Not least of which is that the kit weighs fifty kilos, doesn't have any autofocus, and captures images on 9" x 18" film (yes, film!). They had to design and construct their own lens, film carrier and tweak software to handle the massive volume of data.
I found the talk fascinating.
There's also a lot of technical information on the Gigapxl Project website.
Now that would be a fun project to work on! :)