The insect compound eye is a fascinating visual system. Its resolution may be less than the human eye, but it offers wider field of vision and more rapid signal processing. These features are useful for robot guidance systems. A European Consortium has developed a Miniature “Curved Artificial Compound Eye” called CurvACE* based on insect vision. The CurvACE can provide 180 degree vision and is useful for robot guidance. The capabilities are shown in the YouTube video (embedded below).The major challenge is the alignment of the photoreceptive and optical components on a curved surface. The CurvACE meets these challenges by aligning the photoreceptive and optical components, (in this case a photoreceptor array) on a flexible surface. The material is then “diced” into strips that can be curved. The radius of the CurvACE is less than the radius of a Euro (or a quarter). The processing unit can fit inside the CurvACE. This design can be mounted on a robot in a straightforward manner.
Miniature electronics is leading to an insect inspired future.
*Published online before print May 20, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1219068110
PNAS May 20, 2013
Hat Tip: gizmag.com