A rubber matrix with microlenses and a network of photodetectors with silicon diodes in a sheet, allow to recreate the characteristics of the eyes of some insects endowed with omatidios or sensory units.

Omatidios sensors (Photo: Nature)

An American and Asian team, led from the University of Illinois (USA) by researchers Young Min Song, Xie Yizhu and John A. Rogers, has developed a hemispherical chamber comprising a flexible system of microlenses imitating the eyes of insects like ants .

The conclusions of these jobs can find them in the May issue of the journal Nature under the title Digital cameras with designs inspired by the arthropod eye.

Los 180 elementos de imagen que captan imágenes en esta cámara, parecidos a las unidades de los ojos compuestos de los insectos, ofrecen un campo de visión de 160º, según señalan en la revista Nature. Este esquema sería similar al que presentan los omatidios o unidades sensoriales de los ojos compuestos de algunos insectos, concretamente a los de la hormiga de fuego (Solenopsis fugax) y el escarabajo de la corteza (Hylastes nigrinus).

Each of these ommatidia contains a lens and a cone which channels light to a photosensitive body. All omatidios are grouped together to form the hemispherical eye, with each pointing in a slightly different direction. This structure can capture images in both the center and the periphery, focusing on those areas that the insect (or camera) you want. It also allows a large depth of field objects are focused on both near and far without.

The short focal length of each microlens and the technique developed to create the images provide depth perception that allows us to observe several objects at once even if they are located at different distances.

As for response to light, the project has also been a success in terms of adaptation to different levels of light intensity through the use of algorithms and processes in data acquisition.

"The biggest challenge in imitation of the structure of an eye of an insect on a camera is that electronics are typically flat and rigid. In biology, everything is curvaceous ", said John A. Rogers, one of the researchers on the team.

The system consists of an array of microlenses rubber and a network of photodetectors silicon diodes in a sheet. The set can be inflated like a balloon to acquire the hemispherical shape and attach to the rest of the chamber.

This experience could mean a revolution in audiovisual applications like medical systems or advanced video surveillance.

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By • 2 May, 2013
• Section: Studies, Security

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