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A new system has been recently developed, and this one has taken some inspiration from the world around us.
Researchers from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea, have developed an amphibious artificial vision system with a panoramic field-of-view capable of imaging both land and underwater environments. A system with omnidirectional imaging abilities, capable of imaging both aquatic and terrestrial environments with no distortion. The system had a panoramic visual field, 300° horizontally and 160° vertically, in both air and water. Furthermore, the spherical mount was only 2cm in diameter, making this novel system compact and portable.
“Research in bio-inspired vision often results in a novel development that did not exist before. This, in turn, enables a deeper understanding of nature and ensures that the developed imaging device is both structurally and functionally effective,” explained Professor Young Min Song, one of the scientists leading this research.
According to innovationnewsnetwork.com, the motivation behind the team’s system has derived from the fiddler crab, a semi terrestrial crab species with amphibious imaging ability and a 360° field of vision. These extraordinary features are a consequence of the ellipsoidal eye stalk of the fiddler crab’s compound eyes, allowing for panoramic imaging and reflective flat corneas, permitting for amphibious imaging.
Consequently, the team established an artificial vision system comprising an assortment of flat micro-lenses that were integrated into a flexible comb-shaped silicon array and then mounted onto a spherical structure. The flat surface of the micro-lens was enhanced to counteract the defocusing effects that emerge due to changes in the external environment.
“Our vision system could pave the way for 360° omnidirectional cameras with applications in virtual or augmented reality or an all-weather vision for autonomous vehicles,” concluded Professor Song.
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