Scientists have developed a new 3D-printed camera that could provide eagle-eye vision to micro-drones.
The micro camera may be employed in medical procedures such as endoscopies, or used to develop micro-robots designed to measure, explore or survey, said researchers from University of Stuttgart in Germany.
To create sharp images like an eagle’s eye, the researchers used a technique called femtosecond laser writing to 3D print clusters of four lenses at a time. The lenses range from wide to narrow and low to high resolution, and images can then be combined into a bull’s-eye shape with a sharp image at the centre, similar to how eagles see.
“This means that we still cover the whole object and get a better resolution in the centre,” said Simon Thiele from the Institute of Technical Optics at Stuttgart.
Thiele noted the drawback is that we lose information in the periphery. The goal is to optimise the flow of information, ‘Live Science’ reported. The four lenses can be scaled down to a footprint as small as 300 by 300 micrometres, similar to a medium-size grain of sand.
The size of the entire camera setup could decrease with design tweaks to pack in or combine lenses, or as smaller chips become available, researchers added.