The vertebrate eye has provided inspiration for the design of conventional cameras with single-aperture optics to provide a faithful rendering of the visual world. The insect compound eye, in spite of bearing a comparatively lower resolution than the vertebrate eye, is very efficient for local and global motion analysis over a large field of view (FOV), making it an excellent sensor for accurate and fast navigation in 3D dynamic environments. Furthermore, compound eyes take several shapes and curvatures to fit the head and viewing directions of very different types of insects while offering the same functionality.
The goal of this project is to design, develop, and assess a novel curved and flexible vision sensor for fast extraction of motion-related information. These integrated systems are called CURVed Artificial Compound Eyes (CURVACE). Compared to conventional cameras, artificial compound eyes will offer more efficient visual abilities for motion analysis, a much larger field of view in a smaller size and weight, bearing a thin packaging and being self-contained and programmable.
Additionally, the CURVACE developers will use neuromorphic imagers with adaptive sensitivity, and the rendered images will yield less distortion and less aberration. The fabricated CURVACE will bear mechanical adaptability to a range of shapes and curvatures, and some versions will offer space within the convexity for embedding processing units, battery, or additional sensors that are useful for motion-related computation.
The findings of the CurvACE project were published in PNAS.