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September 23, 2013 AT 5:00 am

The depth perception of the human eye, the wide-angle lens of an insect

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Scientists at Ohio State University have developed a synthetic eye, intended to be used to surgery purposes, that is capable of seeing with the double talents of the depth perception adjustment capabilities of the human eye and the wide-angle lens through which an insect views the world (they have no ability to adjust for depth of field). via designboom.

Lead scientist Yi Zhao presented his project at the IEEE Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Conference this year, demonstrating the view of the word “Ohio” through his new eye. As designboom describes:

…the results could be smartphones that rival the photo quality of digital cameras, and surgical imaging that enables doctors to see inside the body like never before. the prototype is made of a flexible transparent polymer filled with a gelatinous solution similar to the fluids found inside the human eye. the new development consists of a composite of several separate dome-shaped fluid pockets with small domes sitting atop a larger one. each is adjustable; fluid is pumped into and out of the meniscus, such that different parts of it expand and contract to change the overall shape, direction and focal depth.”our eye can change focus. An insect eye is made of many small optical components that can’t change focus but give a wide view. We can combine the two.” explained yi zhao, associate professor of biomedical engineering and ophthalmology at ohio state. What we get is a wide-angle lens with a depth of field measuring 5mm across, the shape-changing device could potentially offer the same focusing capability as multiple moving parts in a single stationary apparatus, which would make for smaller and lighter cameras and microscopes.


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