New Bug Eye Lens

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The amazing ‘bug eye’ lens that can see 180 degrees

A camera with a bug’s eye view of the world  that copies nature’s design for insects has been developed by  scientists.

Like the compound eyes of dragonflies and  bees, the camera has an array of individual miniature lenses laid out over a  curved surface.

It can capture a sharp image across an angle  of 180 degrees – an impossible feat for conventional cameras.

A bee on the first digital camera lens designed to mimic insect eyes and see with a wide field of view and no distortion
A bee on the first digital camera lens designed to mimic  insect eyes and see with a wide field of view and no distortion

 

INSECT EYES

Arthropods have arrays of minute eyes acting together to provide image perception.

Known as an ommatidium,  each consists of a  corneal lens, a crystalline cone and a light  sensitive organ.

The entire system is configured to  provide  exceptional properties in imaging – many of which lie beyond the reach of  existing man-made cameras.

 

The researchers believe their ‘fly-eye’  camera could have useful applications in surveillance and medicine.

The new camera – a rounded half bubble,  similar to a bulging fly eye – has 180 microlenses mounted on it allowing it to  take pictures across nearly 180 degrees.

Details of the camera are published today in  the journal Nature.

One of the biggest technical hurdles was  producing a lens array over a domed surface.

A precision pressure technique similar to  blowing up a balloon was used to create the hemispherical shape.

Team leader Professor John Rogers, from the  University of Illinois in the US, said: ‘Certain of the enabling ideas build on  concepts that originated in our labs a half dozen years ago.

‘Ever since, we have been intrigued by the  possibility of creating digital fly’s eye cameras.

‘Such devices are of longstanding interest,  not only to us but many others as well, owing to their potential for use in  surveillance devices, tools for endoscopy, and other applications where these  insect-inspired designs provide unique capabilities.’

The researchers say it would be simple enough  to combine two of the hemispheres they’ve demonstrated to get a 360-degree view  using soft, rubbery optics with high performance silicon  electronics.

Arthropods have arrays of minute eyes acting  together to provide image perception. Known as an ommatidium, each consists of a  corneal lens, a crystalline cone and a light sensitive organ. The entire system is configured to provide exceptional  properties in imaging – many of which lie beyond the reach of existing man-made  cameras.

The researchers constructed artificial  ommatidia in large, interconnected arrays in hemispherical  layouts.

Taking their cue from Nature, engineers have built a camera using stretchable electronics that scans the world like a fly's compound eye
Taking their cue from Nature, engineers have built a  camera using stretchable electronics that scans the world like a fly’s compound  eye

Building such systems represents a daunting  task as all established camera technologies rely on bulk glass lenses and  detectors constructed on the level surfaces of silicon wafers which cannot be  bent or flexed – much less formed into a hemispherical shape.

Dr Jianliang Xiao, of Colorado Boulder  University, said: ‘A critical feature of our fly’s eye cameras is they  incorporate integrated microlenses, photodetectors, and electronics on  hemispherically curved surfaces.

‘To realize this outcome we used soft,  rubbery optics bonded to detectors/electronics in mesh layouts that can be  stretched and deformed, reversibly and without damage.’

He said the fabrication starts with  electronics, detectors and lens arrays formed on flat surfaces using advanced  techniques adapted from the semi-conductor industry.

Natural inspiration: A moth's eye magnified 550 times
Natural inspiration: A moth’s eye magnified 550  times

The lens sheet – made from a polymer material  similar to a contact lens – and the electronics/detectors are then aligned and  bonded together.

Pneumatic pressure deforms the resulting  system into the desired hemispherical shape in a process much like blowing up a  balloon but with precision engineering control.

Professor Rogers said: ‘Such devices are of  longstanding interest, not only to us but many others as well, owing to their  potential for use in surveillance devices, tools for endoscopy, and other  applications where these insect-inspired designs provide unique  capabilities.’

Attribution: Mark Prigg, Daily Mail

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

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