Tiny, 3D-Printed "Eagle Eyes" for Robots

Researchers from the University of Stuttgart in Germany have developed a highly miniaturized camera that mimics the natural vision of predators. They 3D-printed different multi-lens objectives directly onto a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor. Each lens is made from plastic and about the size of a grain of salt. The lenses mimic the action of the 'fovea,' a key physiological feature of the eyes of humans and eagles, which allows for faster image processing. The image processing system collects the most information from the center of the field of view. Capturing scenes at different resolutions saves processing time and can be used in systems where quick decisions are key, like self-driving cars. The approach allows for fast design iterations and can lead to many different miniaturized multi-aperture imaging systems with applications in fields like endoscopy, optical sensing, surveillance drones, or security.