A team of engineers/researchers from the U of Illinois and other places have developed a prototype eyeball cam whose silicone lens marks a revolution in design. What makes it special? Read more.
The curvilinear eyeball cam pictured above is a small and economical device whose zoom function is unlike anything else that came before it. Thanks to its substrate structure and a clever hydraulic system, the eyeball cam has the features of a human eye, an SLR lens, and a zoom lens.
The hydraulic system works by injecting water into the lens, which then molds itself accordingly, producing a zoom effect. This is innovative because the multinational team (who are mostly Chinese) of engineers who built have come up with a cost effective future replacement for the regular camera lenses we have today.
Here’s a good chunk of additional explanation from the official press release (read the whole thing here):
“The tiny camera combines the best of both the human eye and an expensive single-lens reflex (SLR) camera with a zoom lens. It has the simple lens of the human eye, allowing the device to be small, and the zoom capability of the SLR camera without the bulk and weight of a complex lens. The key is that both the simple lens and photodetectors are on flexible substrates, and a hydraulic system can change the shape of the substrates appropriately, enabling a variable zoom.”