Need a camera that can take a clear picture of the whole landscape before you? They’re not easy to make and take a lot of technical know-how. Lowly critters like flies and bees, though, come with these complex devices as standard equipment. Now, a team of researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois are taking a cue from those insect eyes to design a next generation camera lens that can capture extremely sharp images in wide field of view. And before you ask, yes, it’s pretty freaky looking.
The new lens is actually an array composed of 180 microlenses arranged in a bubble configuration, mimicking the eyes of insects in their hemispherical, multi-lensed design. According to a report on the work in today’s issue of the journal Nature, this bubble of lenses acts like the compound eyes found in many insects, from ants to dragonflies.