Novel Method for Wide Field-View Imaging
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Jay Bjerke
Commercialization Manager, Engineering
Web Published:
An Iowa State University researcher has developed a compact device that enables very wide field of view imaging and may lay the foundation for artificial eyes that mimic those of a shrimp-like deep-sea amphipod.

Development Stage:
A membrane with a “fibers in a chamber” structure has been fabricated and shown to respond well to both inflation and deflation actuations; in addition, HeNe beams passed through the fibers have shown that they function as waveguides, and ISU is seeking partners interested in commercializing this technology.

Imaging devices with very wide field-of-view (FOV) have many potential applications, including endoscopes for biomedical applications, robotics and automation, and in security and assistive technologies.  For many of these applications, having a light weight, compact device is highly desirable.  However, many wide FOV devices that have been developed are based on conventional optics and tend to be bulky and heavy.  Other development efforts have focused on mimicking solutions found in nature such as artificial compound eyes found in insects and crustaceans.  However, the realization of biomimetic artificial eyes has not been entirely successful due to the difficulty in assembling the compound eye’s vision units hemispherically as well as the difficulty in optically connecting the curved optical front-end (i.e., the microlenses, spacers and incidence angle-discriminating elements) to a flat detector array.  To overcome these obstacles, an ISU researcher has developed a MEMS (micro-electrical-mechanical systems) imaging system that mimics the compound eye of a shrimp-like deep-sea amphipod which uses polymer fibers to provide flexible optical connections between the microlenses and photodetectors.  In addition to providing a hemispherical imaging of panoramic objects, this system has the potential to enable dynamically tunable FOV and is fabricated using soft lithographic replica-molding techniques amenable to mass production.  As a consequence, this imaging system may be useful for a wide variety of applications, including biomedical instrumentation, surveillance, and assistive devices.

• Simpler fabrication
• Multi-functionality
• Dynamic control of the field-of-view
Patent Information:
*To see the full version of the patent(s), follow the link below, then click on "Images" button.
Country Serial No. Patent No. Issued Date
United States 13/180,668 8,351,106* 1/8/2013

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