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Tiny 3D-Printed Camera Lens Could Give Drones Vision Like Ours

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An eagle's eye, a metaphor for high visual acuity.

Three-dimensionalprinting will help create eagle-eyed drones.

Credit: reder/Getty Images

Researchers at the University of Stuttgart in Germany created a camera that combines four three-dimensionally (3D)-printed lenses to mimic natural vision, with extremely sharp focus in a central area and wider peripheral vision.

The four 3D-printed lenses have different focal lengths, with the longer ones capturing high detail over a narrow field of view and the lenses with shorter focal lengths capturing low detail over a wider field of view. The researchers used software to combine the images and create a circular photo that is highly detailed in the center, but becomes less detailed toward the edges.

The entire system measures less than 300 micrometers square, and would have been impossible to create without 3D printing, according to Stuttgart researcher Harald Giessen.

A camera using such a lens would require less power and processing time than conventional cameras because only the center of the image requires intensive processing.

From New Scientist
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