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Fly's Eye Inspires Hemispherical Digital Camera

Inspired by the complex fly eye, an interdisciplinary team led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University has developed a hemispherical digital camera with nearly 200 tiny lenses, delivering wide-angle field of view and sharp images.

The new camera — a rounded half bubble, similar to a bulging fly eye — has 180 microlenses mounted on it, allowing it to take pictures across nearly 180 degrees.

With a wide-angle field of view, the new technology could be used in future surveillance devices or for imaging in endoscopic procedures. The researchers say it would be simple enough to combine two of the hemispheres they’ve demonstrated to get a 360-degree view.

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Also: Learn about the onboard camera on NASA's Mighty Eagle test vehicle.