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New fish-eyed lens lets you see in dark

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Washington : Have you ever wanted to be able to see in the dark? A team of researchers has come up with a fish-eyed lens that can cut through the dark.

Combining the best features of a lobster and an African fish known as elephantnosed fishes, the University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers developed an artificial eye that can see in the dark. And their fishy false eyes could help search-and-rescue robots or surgical scopes make dim surroundings seem bright as day.

Their biologically inspired approach stands apart from other methods in its ability to improve the sensitivity of the imaging system through the lenses rather than the sensor component.

Amateur photographers attempting to capture the moon with their cellphone cameras are familiar with the limitations of low-light imaging. The long exposure time required for nighttime shots causes minor shakes to produce extremely blurry images. Yet, fuzzy photos aren’t merely an annoyance. Bomb-diffusing robots, laparoscopic surgeons and planet-seeking telescopes all need to resolve fine details through almost utter darkness.

“These days, we rely more and more on visual information. Any technology that can improve or enhance image-taking has great potential,” says corresponding author Hongrui Jiang.

The engineers in Jiang’s lab are working to refine the manufacturing process to further increase the sensitivity of the devices. With perfect precision, Jiang predicts that the artificial eyes could improve by at least an order of magnitude.

“It has always been very hard to make artificial superposition compound eyes because the curvature and alignment need to be absolutely perfect.” says Jiang. “Even the slightest misalignment can throw off the entire system.”

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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