Researchers unveil ‘bug-eye’ digital camera

May 2, 2013. By: Laura Hopperton (

A digital camera that functions like an insect’s eye has been unveiled by an interdisciplinary team of researchers.

The device exploits large arrays of tiny focusing lenses and miniaturised detectors in hemispherical layouts, just like the eyes of arthropods.

Its creators say it offers a nearly infinite depth of field, and believe it could be used in surveillance devices and tools for endoscopy.

“A critical feature of our fly’s eye cameras is that they incorporate integrated microlenses, photodetectors and electronics on hemispherically curved surfaces,” explained Jianliang Xiao, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at University of Colorado Boulder.

“To realise this, we used soft, rubbery optics bonded to detectors/electronics in mesh layouts that can be stretched and deformed, reversibly and without damage.”

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