The lens in living organisms varies like animals and humans have a single lens whereas insects or crustaceans have compound lens. The compound lens helps them possess light sensitivity, motion detection, and peripheral vision whereas the single lens only provides sharp images. Hence, the researchers have shifted their focus on developing artificial compound eyes that can provide the power of vision to the autonomous vehicles and robots plus other applications. These bioinspired artificial compound eyes are being prepared keeping the low-cost approach in mind.
In reality, the compound eyes have individual repetitive visual receptors known as ommatidia and each of it comprises of a cornea, lens, and photoreceptor cells. There even thousand units per eye present in some insects that is more of ommatidia helps increase the visual resolution. In terms of cost or the structural difficulties, the current research can come to a standstill but the researchers are still attempting to raise funds or create structures whether large or small or nanoscale. The artificial bug eyes are being generated currently using nanotechnology and lasers but the major issue with these methods are that the structures are nonuniform or even distort, which can hamper the vision in the long run. Thus, Wenjun Wang and colleagues have developed a new improvised strategy for achieving structural homogeneity in order to provide advanced visual properties to the artificial compound eyes.
The researchers basically blasted lasers through the double layered acrylic glass aiming the last layer. The lower layer swelled because of the laser forming a convex dome structure. A bunch of these structures was bent alongside a curved structure to form an artificial eye. Other methods were used to grow nanostructures on convex glass domes resembling a shag rug. These structures helped the microlenses attain water-repellent and antireflective properties. According to the Oregon State University team led by Gregory Herman, their research has helped develop contact lenses that help save millions of lives suffering from type 1 diabetes. The tears are used by the lens to monitor the blood glucose levels without any time wastage.