See Like An Insect

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).

CurvACE is smaller than the Euro

CurvACE is smaller than the Euro

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:

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Insect Inspired, Vision. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to See Like An Insect

  1. stokes5 says:

    Understanding that insect’s vision is poorly resolute, are there advanced insects like robotics that have improved eyesight? And how extensive is the research on the sight of insects?
    I hope it is not too far that the resolution of the photoreceptors in our technology can improve both in robotics/technology and in the field of helping us blind folk see what we’re reading. Thank you for this post, it was very eye-opening!

  2. jjneal says:

    From what we can deduce, the insect visual system processes patterns that the “brain” uses to navigate. Insects or robots do not have to see the way we see, as long as they can “see” patterns, process and interpret them.

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