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New Technologies

Tiny Lenses Offer Wide-Angle View
A novel lens-making technique creates an artificial insect eye, which could lead to better camera lenses.

A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley has figured out how to inexpensively assemble more than 8,000 tiny plastic lenses into a dome-shaped array, mimicking the compound eye of a bee or dragonfly. Their innovative structure can capture light and images across a 180-degree radius -- twice the range of wide-angle "fish-eye" lenses.

The new fabrication process could be used in small, inexpensive cameras for medical procedures such as endoscopies or video-guided surgery. Or, say the researchers, the array could be integrated into mobile-phone cameras to increase their picture-viewing area. The dome-shaped collection of lenses, described in the current issue of Science, consists of 8,370 individual lenses, each with a diameter of 25 micrometers, packed in a honeycombed pattern.

(from the science magazine)


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