By mimicking the bulging, bowl-shaped eyes possessed by dragonflies, praying mantises, houseflies and other insects, a team of researchers that includes a University of Colorado Boulder engineer has built an experimental digital camera that can take exceptionally wide-angle photos without distorting the image.
To create the innovative camera, which also allows for a practically infinite depth of field, the scientists used stretchable electronics and a pliable sheet of microlenses made from a material similar to that used for contact lenses. The researchers described the camera in an article published today in the journal Nature.
Conventional wide-angle lenses, such as fisheyes, distort the images they capture at the periphery, a consequence of the mismatch of light passing through a hemispherically curved surface of the lens only to be captured by the flat surface of the electronic detector.
For the digital camera described in the new study, the researchers were able to create an electronic detector that can be curved into the same hemispherical shape as the lens, eliminating the distortion.
“The most important and most revolutionizing part of this camera is to bend electronics onto a curved surface,” said Jianliang Xiao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at CU-Boulder and co-lead author of the study. “Electronics are all made of silicon, mostly, and silicon is very brittle, so you can’t deform the silicon. Here, by using stretchable electronics we can deform the system; we can put it onto a curved surface.”
Creating a camera inspired by the compound eyes of arthropods — animals with exoskeletons and jointed legs, including all insects as well as scorpions, spiders, lobsters and centipedes, among other creatures — has been a sought-after goal. Compound eyes typically have a lower resolution than the eyes of mammals, but they give arthropods a much larger field of view than mammalian eyes as well as high sensitivity to motion and an infinite depth of field.
Compound eyes consist of a collection of smaller eyes called ommatidia, and each small eye is made up of an independent corneal lens as well as a crystalline cone, which captures the light traveling through the lens. The number of ommatidia determines the resolution and varies widely among arthropods. Dragonflies, for example, have about 28,000 tiny eyes while worker ants have only in the neighborhood of 100.
Imitating the corneal lens-crystalline cone pairings, the camera created by Xiao and his colleagues has 180 miniature lenses, each of which is backed with its own small electronic detector. The number of lenses used in the camera is similar to the number of ommatidia in the compound eyes of fire ants and bark beetles.
The electronics and the lenses are both flat when fabricated, said Xiao, who began working on the project as a postdoctoral researcher in John Roger’s lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This allows the product to be manufactured using conventional systems.
“This is the key to our technology,” Xiao said. “We can fabricate an electronic system that is compatible with current technology. Then we can scale it up.”
The Latest Bing News on:
Insect eye-inspired camera
- Columbus babysitter charged with abuse of toddler after parents place hidden cameraon May 6, 2021 at 2:14 pm
After realizing something was wrong with their toddler, a Columbus family installed a hidden camera to keep an eye on the babysitter. Now, that babysitter is facing charges, ...
- Mantis shrimp-inspired camera provides second opinion during cancer surgeryon May 5, 2021 at 11:00 am
Some of the world's greatest innovations, such as Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine, owe their strength and elegance to natural design. Researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ...
- ‘Today’ gets new graphics with dynamic angular elementson May 3, 2021 at 9:34 am
As NewscastStudio first and exclusively reported, NBC News‘ “Today” debuted an updated graphics package Monday, ... Read More ...
- Letters From Minsk: Coming in From the Cold War at Brest-Litovskon April 23, 2021 at 6:53 am
and camera, as if taking up permanent residence (which in some sense I was). On the Trans-Siberian there’s less to see than meets the eye (imagine endless country that looks like Kansas).
- 'The ol' Sandhills are going to miss him' — Lincoln photographer, writer peeled back curtain on Nebraska wildlifeon April 20, 2021 at 12:30 am
Farrar, whose natural history photographs and articles peeled back the curtain on Nebraska wildlife and inspired a greater ... Forsberg would set up cameras with motion sensors attached, capturing ...
- CNN producer Emiko Jozuka is dedicated to preserving the legacy of her father, Formula One photographer Joe Hondaon April 16, 2021 at 4:26 am
caught the bug, and decided to go to Europe as he felt that was the centre of the action. He was operating on a very skinny shoestring, as he had only US$500 and a couple of cameras when he landed ...
- Legendary Statuson April 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm
We were out looking for him, because we were inspired a lot by the work he'd ... I loved going down with the bug camera and flying down really low and looking at the trees and making them look ...
- Real-life robots that will make you think the future is nowon April 13, 2021 at 5:00 pm
HitchBOT comprised a camera, battery ... Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has created a tiny, insect-inspired robot that can stand and jump on water for surveillance ...
- Pandemic-inspired discoveries: New insect species from Kosovo named after the Coronaviruson April 11, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Ironically, the study of this new insect was impacted by the same pandemic that inspired its scientific name. Although it was collected a few years ago, the new species was only described during ...
- Accessorise all areas: Embellish your offer with add-ons to upsellon April 8, 2021 at 9:05 am
Best known for its intricately printed dresses and shirts, womenswear brand Lily & Lionel’s vintage-inspired ... camera bags, card holders and phone cases are well designed and affordable, and come in ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Insect eye-inspired camera
The Latest Bing News on:
Experimental digital camera
- We Interview Chi Lau: Digital Infrared Photographyon May 7, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Chi Lau is a London-based photographer who has been experimenting with digital infrared photography since 2011. I was able to chat with him to learn more about the infrared process and learn what tips ...
- Effects of methane ratio on MPDF (micro-pilot dual-fuel) combustion characteristic in a heavy-duty single cylinder engineon May 7, 2021 at 4:02 am
The fuel mixture ratio was varied for experimental purposes ... The injector signal was converted into a digital signal and it was used as a trigger for operating the high speed camera. Unlike the ...
- NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter To Act As Perseverance Rover’s Mission Partner After Fourth Successful Test Flighton April 30, 2021 at 10:00 pm
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter made its fourth successful flight on April 30th, flitting about above the surface of the dusty volcanic orb it now calls home. Now it's got a new mission objective: ...
- Experimental Film and Video: An Anthologyon April 30, 2021 at 1:55 pm
Bringing together key artists in film, video and digital movingimage this Anthology,Experimental Film and Video ... contact printers, rostrum camera, steenbecks, 16mm processing and telecine) ...
- Ingenuity Mars helicopter captures Perseverance rover in unprecedented aerial shoton April 29, 2021 at 10:02 am
After landing with Perseverance on Mars in February, Ingenuity has successfully and autonomously attempted three experimental flights ... looking navigation camera to collect images of the ...
- Cadence Weapon Finds Hope In Dystopiaon April 29, 2021 at 6:45 am
Rollie Pemberton on new album 'Parallel World,' his newsletter and upcoming book, and why now is the perfect time to address systemic injustice.
- Aviva review – an experimental study of love, sex and genderon April 27, 2021 at 5:07 am
Director Boaz Yakin explores through dance the male and female aspects of his central characters, each played by both a man and a woman ...
- Australian news marks return of stolen Big Bird costume with experimental short filmon April 26, 2021 at 9:12 am
After a circus' Big Bird costume was stolen and returned last week, local news tweeted footage of the suit's discovery that's more haunting than might be expected.
- Digital Journalon April 25, 2021 at 6:37 am
A new technology is being made available for people with sight issues. This is based on bionics, and the results are remarkable.
- The Royal Opera Announces 8bit, a Series Of 8 Free Digital Operatic Experienceson April 22, 2021 at 5:28 am
On Friday 30 April at 7pm GMT Royal Opera House will present 8bit - a series of eight newly-commissioned, experimental experiences of digital opera ... a single hand-held camera follows Katherine ...