Insects have a wide field of view and are acutely sensitive to motion. Their eyes are made up of thousands of light-sensing structures. Each contains a lens and a cone that funnels light to a photosensitive organ. Some insects like bees and dragonflies have lenses in their eyes which both close up and panoramic vision, both left and right, all in focus at the same time.
Now, a tiny new camera developed at Illinois university is giving researchers a bug’s eye view. The camera is about the size of a small coin and mimics insects’ bulging eyes and features 180 degree micro-lenses.
John Rogers, the inventor of the Bug Eye Camera, explained: “This is the system that we’ve been able to build. And it has all of the key features that are present in the insect eye. It involves a full hemispheric geometry. It involves a large number of very tiny lenses that focus incoming light onto individual photo detectors that are associated with each one of those lenses.”
According to him, these cameras have a wide range of possible applications. “So the ability of an insect to look in all directions at once could be really useful if you want to do advanced surveillance in an urban environment, or you want a surveillance camera on a drone, for example, you’d like to have that kind of capability. And this is certainly one way to do it.”
A bug’s eye view – a new perspective on how humans see the world.