Slope Sensitive Pixels

MIT Researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging 1,000 times. post pdf

The work fuses two 3-D sensing principles, time of flight and polarization. One principle provides the range for each scene pixel: This is the state of the art of most 3-D imaging systems. The second principle does not provide range. On the other hand, it derives the object slope, locally. In other words, per scene pixel, it tells how flat or oblique the object is.

A mechanically rotated polarization filter would probably be impractical in a cellphone camera, but grids of tiny polarization filters that can overlay individual pixels in a light sensor are commercially available. Capturing three pixels’ worth of light for each image pixel would reduce a cellphone camera’s resolution, but no more than the color filters that existing cameras already use.