Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bug Eye Camera that Scans World Like a Fly's Compound Eye


A bee on the first digital camera with designs that mimic those of ocular systems found in insects. Photo: University of Illinois/AFP

Engineers have invented a digital device with a multitude of tiny, pliable lenses like those found in ant, beetle, and lobster eyes, that allows for a near-infinite depth of field and high motion sensitivity, reports journal Nature last Wednesday.

The camera uses stretchable electronics that scans the world like a fly's compound eye - with a wide field of view and no distortion.

The camera, about 1.5 centimetres in diameter, has 180 miniature lenses, each with its own detector - similar to the number found in fire ant and bark beetle eyes. Dragonflies have about 28,000 lenses and worker ants about 100.



"We've figured out ways to make cameras that incorporate all of the essential design features of eyes found in the insect world," study co-author John Rogers of the University of Illinois' engineering department said.

Most classical cameras mimic the working of the animal eye: light reflected off an object passes through the lens which bends and focuses the light onto the retina at the back of the organ, where nerve cells convert it into electric impulses sent to the brain, which produces an image.

These single-lens systems have a limited field of view, but insects and other species with eyes composed of multiple units called ommatidia enjoy panoramic vision.

( via Sydney Morning Herald )
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