Chinese 500 megapixel 'Super Camera' can spot a face in the crowd

Xiaoyang Zeng, a scientist from Fudan University with the new 'Super Camera'
Xiaoyang Zeng, a scientist from Fudan University, with the new 'Super Camera' (Image credit: Weibo)

Chinese scientists have developed a 500 megapixel facial recognition camera, that it claims has four times more acuity than the human eye. It has been designed to work with surveillance systems, allowing them to pick out faces from a crowd - which it can then identifying using AI software. Dubbed the Super Camera, the CCTV camera has been developed by Fudan University and Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and was shown at International Industry Fair.

The new camera is likely to be used with China's controversial Social Credit system, which restricts and rewards citizens using a ranking system - which is then monitored using the country's increasing use of facial recognition surveillance systems.

"The challenge for a camera of this scope, especially in a cloud-led AI environment is the quantity of data that's needed to shuffle around for identification; as you raise the detail level of each image as the Fudan University scientists have done, you seriously raise the size of the files — especially for video — a substantial amount," says Australian freelance technology journalist Alex Kidman in an ABC report

"The serious technical challenge — leaving privacy concerns aside for a second — is in uploading that data and parsing it in a sensible timeframe for the kinds of applications they're talking about, especially wirelessly."

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.