The curved shape of the human eye is no mistake – it’s been evolving for millions of years, possibly even from bacteria, to focus light from different angles, soaking up detail from the outside world. Cameras are a household example of biomimicry - imitating eyes by focussing light onto a bed of sensors. But most cameras and phones have flat sensors lacking the sensitive curve of the human eye’s retina, which is challenging to reproduce with delicate materials. Taking a new approach, researchers lay overlap 'leaves' of silicon-based sensors into different moulds – concave like the human eye, or convex like an insect eye (pictured here). The sections are folded together and cut away to leave a smooth curved sensor. This cunning mix of origami and optoelectronics may reduce the cost of curvy artificial eyes in everything from surveillance equipment to medical cameras peering around our insides.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.