“While human eyes use a spherical volume, compound eyes use only a spherical shell, so that much of the space and weight is saved for the brain,” Jacques Duparre, coauthor with F. C. Wippermann of a recent paper in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, told PhysOrg.com. “The arrangement allows for a large field of view, but does not require large signal processing.”Although single aperture eyes have advantages in resolution and sensitivity in large lenses, compound eyes have the potential to make more compact, robust and cheap vision systems. At the micro level, compound eyes’ individual viewing channels on curved lenses have minimal aberrations, or focusing errors that cause blurring. Cameras with compound eye lenses could have applications in many tight spaces, such as those encountered in automotive engineering, security and surveillance, and medical technology.“Thin lenses might have applications in flat panel displays, and we’re also working on another arrangement for minimal invasive surgery,” said Duparre, who is currently working on a patent for this arrangement.Scientists have studied optical lenses based on natural compound eyes for more than a hundred years, but classical macroscopic technology has not provided the necessary fabrication and assembly accuracy. For the first time, Duparre and Wippermann have fabricated and tested two different compound eye lenses using state-of-the-art micro-optics technology. Scientists fabricated an artificial apposition compound eye (center) that is significantly cheaper and smaller than a traditional 20-mm single lens objective (left) with the same magnification; and much smaller – though not quite as cheap – as a Euro cent (right). Photo credit: IOP. Researchers develop liquid-crystal-based compound lenses that work like insect eyes This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.