Organisms possess remarkable abilities to perceive colors, shapes and motions, to differentiate between light intensities and to construct holistic images of their environment. They have perfected these abilities to an almost superhero level because their survival depends on it. This section groups EPFL’s research projects that are inspired by incredible properties of visual systems of different organisms, especially insects, for creation of new technologies and materials.
The Panoptic camera is a biologically-inspired multicamera vision sensor. It is a polydioptric system mimicking the eyes of flying insects where multiple imagers, each with a distinct focal point, are distributed over a hemisphere. Our research activities in this domain are concentrated on the realization of customized HW imaging platforms, and implementation of omnidirectional image reconstruction algorithms (OIR) on the Panoptic camera platform. The combined hardware/software system enables advanced real-time applications including omnidirectional image reconstruction, 3D model construction (3D display) and depth estimation.
Video that explains the project.
Insect inspired miniature artificial eye
In most animal species, vision is mediated by compound eyes, which offer lower resolution than vertebrate single-lens eyes, but significantly larger fields of view with negligible distortion and spherical aberration, and high temporal resolution in a tiny package. Compound eyes are ideally suited for fast panoramic motion perception. Here we describe a novel design method for biomimetic compound eyes featuring a panoramic, undistorted field of view in a very thin package. The artificial compound eye, that was prototyped in our Lab, possesses several characteristics similar to the eye of the fruit fly Drosophila and other arthropod species. This design method opens up new vistas for a broad range of applications where wide field motion detection is at a premium, such as collision-free navigation of terrestrial and aerospace vehicles, and for the experimental testing of insect vision theories.
Floreano et al, 2013, Miniature curved artificial compound eyes, PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1219068110
For more info: http://curvace.org/
Synthetic moth eye textures eliminate light reflection in the front encapsulation of solar cells, leading to a 5% photocurrent increase in thin film tandem a-Si:H and µc-Si devices. The sub-micron antireflective textures are optimized using optical simulations and replicated in a low-shrinkage and superhard hyperbranched polymer nanocomposite by means of a roll-to-roll UV nanoimprint lithography process.
González Lazo M.A., Schüler A., Haug F.-J., Ballif C., Månson J.-A.E., Leterrier Y., Energy Technol., 3, 366-372 (2015).