Scientists have made a camera that replicates the features of a human eye, which they say will enhance the performance of digital cameras.
By mixing biological design with stretchable optoelectronics, researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have made a hemispherical, eye shaped camera.
Conventional cameras need a series of lenses to stop distortion appearing in an image but this new camera only uses one lens. The camera has a similar shaped detector to that found in the human eye which is hemispherical (half a sphere), the single lens is also this shape. The curved shape and single lens means the field of vision is improved and as a result so is this picture.
The team's goal is to push towards commercialisation, both as a camera for photographers and for biological and medical purposes. But as the camera is limited to 256px at the moment, the team still have a way to go.
"We have a lot of work in front of us, but we're optimistic," said John Rogers, the Flory-Founder Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Illinois University.
Top Image: Extracted from the camera
Image Below: Planar projection.
Yonggang Huang also worked on the project which has been described as a breakthrough as researchers have worked on this idea for the last few decades without getting any real results.
The team also wanted to improve the camera's resolution and to do this they turned their attentions back to the human eye. Our eyes are constantly moving, supplying us with many views of a particular object. The team recreated this by taking several images at slightly different angles and then merging them together to create a much sharper image.
When I asked Olympus what they thought about the product, their Marketing Manager Mark Thackara said: "Sounds fascinating, can't wait to hear more about it."
Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.