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Curved artificial compound 'eye' offers wide field of view

23 May 2013

Compared with single-lens eyes, compound eyes offer lower resolution, but significantly larger fields of view, a thinner structure, and negligible distortion.

CurvACE, the first artificial compound eye able to measure, like a flying insect, the apparent velocity of objects as they move across the panoramic eye (image courtesy of CurvACE)

Now a collaborative research effort by workers from CNRS, Aix-Marseille Université, EPFL at Lausanne, Fraunhofer Institute at Jena and Université de Tuebingen has produced a novel curved artificial compound eye (CurvACE) with embedded and programmable vision processing. 

While consumer cameras are inspired from the single-lens mammalian eye, many animal species use compound eyes, which consist of a dense mosaic of tiny eyes. The wide fields of view and negligible distortion are features that are very useful for motion detection in tasks such as collision avoidance, distance estimation, and landing.

The novel curved artificial compound eye (CurvACE) features a panoramic, hemispherical field of view with a resolution identical to that of the fruitfly - all from a structure of less than 1mm thickness.

Additionally, it can extract images three times faster than a fruitfly, and includes neuromorphic photoreceptors that allow motion perception over a wide range of light conditions, from a sunny day to moon light.

The programmable vision processing feature enables the eye to be integrated into a broad range of applications where motion detection is important, such as mobile robots and micro air vehicles, home automation, surveillance, medical instruments, and smart clothing.


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