You never know when that perfect shot is going to come into view. Usually, it occurs immediately prior to finding your phone, unlocking the home screen, pressing 'camera', waiting for the shutter to open and then pointing it in the direction of the incident.
But a new camera technique, created by Japanese researchers, offers the promise of never missing a single magic moment.
Teams from Keio University and the University of Tokyo have been working on a camera which uses the STAMP technique - Sequentially Timed All-Optical Mapping Photography - which has achieved a snap rate of an astonishing 4.4 trillion frames per second, making it the world's fastest camera.
Findings published in the Nature Photonics journal show that it uses a technique called motion-based femtophotography, which maps the movement of an object over time in a 'burst stream' of timed photographs, showing an object's 'time varying spatial profile'. The snaps come in at an extremely hi-resolution (for this type of camera) 450x450 pixels, or around the size of a normal image on an internet page.
Their next aim is to bring down the size of the camera - currently standing at a square metre and improve the resolution. It is hoped that it will be useful in studying chemical reactions and heat conduction. We'll be offering very short odds on it being used to comprehensively document a cat trying to jump off something in the very near future.
(Images: (c) Nature Photonics (2014)/University of Tokyo)