Electronic eyeball

Materials scientists are developing an eye-shaped camera that uses a single lens to produce a distortion-free image. Most cameras require multiple lenses but the human eye does not. Now though, John Rogers and his colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used flexible electronic circuits to mimic our own single-lens eyes. From Nature News:
 News 2008 080806 Images News.2008.1004 The team's solution was to use a series of silicon photodetectors (pixels) connected by thin metal wires. This network is supported and encapsulated by a thin film of polyimide plastic, allowing the flexible scaffold to bend when compressed. This scaffold takes up the mechanical stress and protects the pixels as the array takes its hemispherical shape.

The team made a hollow dome about 2 centimetres wide from a rubber-like material called poly(dimethylsiloxane). They flattened out the stretchy dome, and attached the electronic mesh. Then, as the hollow dome snapped back into its original shape, it pulled the array with it, forming a hemisphere that could be attached to a lens; the basis of the camera

“The ability to wrap high quality silicon devices onto complex surfaces and biological tissues adds very interesting and powerful capabilities to electronic and optoelectronic device design,” says Rogers. "It allows us to put electronics in places where we couldn't before."
Electronic eye (Nature News)

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  1. Am I the only Kubrick-geek who recalls that the passive-aggressive homicidal computer HAL, with the unblinking cycloptic eye, was also built in Urbana, Illinois?

    Open the pod bay doors.

  2. From TFA: It allows us to put electronics in places where we couldn’t before.

    Sounds like an invitation for all kinds of vulgar jokes..

    :P

  3. Wrap some high quality silicon devices onto my complex biological tissues, baby.
    Put your electronic devices in places you haven’t before….
    Yeah that’s it…

  4. Uhm, not to be pedantic, but …

    They are lens “elements”, not multiple lenses, on cameras. Our eye’s lens is a single element, which is also referred to as a “simple” lens.

    Taken in the collective, these multi-element lenses are also referred to as “compound” lenses.

    Kai?

  5. Materials scientists are developing an eye-shaped camera that uses a single lens to produce a distortion-free image. Most cameras require multiple lenses but the human eye does not.

    Nitpick: The lens of the human eye is remarkable for many things, but it does not, by itself, produce a distortion-free image. Our eye’s ‘distortion-free’ image is largely an illusion crated by advanced image processing in our vision cortex and elsewhere along the vision pathway.

  6. So we may actually may have cyborgs by 2030? I always thought Ghost In The Shell was being highly optimistic.

  7. BNewcott is right. The human lens is a compound optical system with two elements, the cornea and the lens. The lens gets most of the credit, but in fact, the cornea provides 2/3 of the eye’s refractive power. The lens is mainly there because it has the ability to accommodate; that is, change its refractive power in order to focus at different distances.

  8. This is amazing! is it intended for robots or for humans?

    I was reading in this article about “HUD” in contact lenses and glasses – pretty amazing as well.

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