Curvilinear Camera Combines Your Eye With Zoom

This curvilinear camera is a cross between the human eye and a 3.5x single lens reflex (SLR) camera zoom lens. Yonggang Huang, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science said that “We were inspired by the human eye, but we wanted to go beyond the human eye.” The simple human lens and photodetectors were placed on flexible substrates in which the hydraulic system changes their shape for concluding a variable zoom.


(Curvilinear camera 'eye')

The rigid detectors of the previous eyeball cameras made them incompatible with variable zoom. For making the rigid detectors change the team utilized an array of interconnected and flexible silicon photodetectors on a thin, elastic membrane. The result obtained was a more flexible zooming eyeball. In addition to that the mechanism has been equipped with a lens devised by putting a thin elastic membrane on a water chamber with clear glass window under it. To get an in-focus and magnified image, the researchers used hydraulics mechanism to change the curvatures of the lens and detector in an effective manner. Through a hemispherical eye camera it was assured that the shape of the detector is exactly matching the varying curvature of the image surface for getting continuous and adjustable zoom .

Science fiction fans may recall the artificial eye from 'Doc' Smith's 1937 novel Galactic Patrol and of course the Tleilaxu eyes from Frank Herbert's 1969 novel Dune Messiah.

Although bionic eyes are not to be found in the novel Cyborg, they were provided to Steve Austin in the television show made from the novel - The Six Million Dollar Man.


(Diagram of bionic eye from The Six Million Dollar Man video)

Via GizmoWatch.

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