The PMast is a 360 camera that uses spherical lenses developed by researchers at University of California San Diego.
The PMast is the first camera to use a completely spherical lens developed by researchers at UCSD. According to UCSD professor Joseph Ford, spherical lenses are “insanely good” at focusing light. The problem with spherical lenses is that the image from a spherical lens cannot be focused on a flat sensor.
To solve this problem, the UCSD researchers used bundles of fiber optic cables around the lens. The fiber optic cables then transmit the light to the sensor.
The researchers believe that using spherical lenses can lead to more compact camera designs.
PMast is the first 360 camera to use spherical lenses. It was created by Photonic Systems Integration Laboratory and Distant Focus Corporation for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It has five lenses on a cube-like array and five 25mp full-frame sensors. However, it is not yet available for commercial use.