May 2, 2013
Digital Camera Inspired By Insect Eyes
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Researchers have created a new digital camera using a design that mimics ocular systems found in dragonflies, bees, praying mantises and other insects.
This class of technology offers exceptionally wide-angle fields of view, with low aberrations, high acuity to motion, and a virtually infinite depth of field.
The devices exploit large arrays of tiny focusing lenses and miniaturized detectors in hemispherical layouts — just like eyes found in arthropods. The camera combines soft, elastic optics with high performance silicon electronics and detectors, using ideas first established in research on skin and brain monitoring systems by John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
"Full 180 degree fields of view with zero aberrations can only be accomplished with image sensors that adopt hemispherical layouts — much different than the planar CCD chips found in commercial cameras," Rogers said.
"When implemented with large arrays microlenses, each of which couples to an individual photodiode, this type of hemispherical design provides unmatched field of view and other powerful capabilities in imaging. Nature has developed and refined these concepts over the course of billions of years of evolution."
The researchers describe their breakthrough work in an article entitled: "Digital Cameras With Designs Inspired By the Arthropod Eye," published in the current issue of the journal Nature.