Camera lens inspired by bug eyes captures full 180-degree view

May 1, 2013 at 4:10 PM

EVANSTON, Ill., May 1 (UPI) -- Inspired by an insect eye, U.S. scientists say they've developed a hemispherical digital camera with an exceptional wide-angle field of view and sharp images.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University say their camera mimics the complex eye of a fly with nearly 200 tiny lenses, essentially a big eye comprised of many small eyes.

The new camera's lens is a rounded half bubble that can take pictures with a wide field of view, a Northwestern release reported Wednesday.

The new technology could find a place in future surveillance devices or for imaging in endoscopic medical procedures, the researchers said.

"What we have, in a sense, is many small eyes on one big eye," Northwestern's Yonggang Huang said. "Each small eye, composed of a microlens and a microscale photodetector, is a separate imaging system, but when they are all taken together, the camera can take a clear picture, with just one snap, of nearly 180 degrees."

"Existing camera imaging technology is flat, and we made a system that is curvilinear," Huang said.

A possible next step would be to combine two of the hemispheres to get a full 360-degree view, the researchers said.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
N.H. primary polls open: Kasich, Sanders get early leads
5 Reasons why Denver Broncos won't be repeat champions
U.N. report: Syria's Assad guilty of 'inhuman' crimes, gruesome torture, deaths
On heels of E. coli outbreaks, Chipotle spending millions for new ingredient safeguards
Hugh Jackman shows photo of his latest skin cancer treatment