Technology Review: A Camera from a Sheet of Fiber:
researchers at MIT have integrated a collection of light sensors into polymer fibers, creating a new type of camera. Yoel Fink, a professor of materials sciences and engineering and the lead researcher on the project, notes that a standard camera requires lenses that are usually rigid and heavy. A camera made from fibers, however, could be lightweight, robust, and even foldable. Although Fink admits that the applications aren't yet well defined, he suggests that such a fiber-based camera could be used in a large foldable telescope or integrated into soldiers' uniforms.
Fink is not alone in experiencing difficulty finding applications:
John Rogers, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, ... adds, the fiber camera seems to be "a technology in search of a problem to solve."
A researcher from Cornell, Juan Hinestroza, a professor of fiber science and apparel design, does list some possible applications,
"I believe it is just the first of many possible applications to come for this technology," he says. Hinestroza suspects that these sorts of fibers could be weaved or knitted into fabrics to sense temperature, occupancy, and traffic in a room or terminal, or to detect the presence of traces of certain hazardous gases.