When it comes to the eyes of a bug, bird and human, they all share one common feature, that is, the shape of being round. Just about any ocular organ that can be found in nature would feature a certain degree of curvature, leading one to ask, how come man-made cameras rely on flat lenses and inflexible silicon chips? After all, many inventions and leaps in the realm of science have come from being inspired by nature, and a bunch of scientists decided to work on a “bug’s eye” digital camera that has been modeled right after those of insects, including flies, ants and beetles.
This bio-inspired digital camera will feature a tiny microlens that has been connected to a photoreceptive computer chip via an elastomer, or in other words, a molecular compound with elastic properties. It will take anywhere from 200 to 500 of these artificial “omatidia” to be embedded in a sheet of curved and flexible rubber, which is considered to be low end, since high end insects like praying mantis or a dragonfly would feature anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 omatidia per eye. We could see such bug’s eye view cameras being used for surveillance purposes on properties and in drones down the road.