Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Eyeball Camera

PostedJanuary 23, 2011

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Randy Atkins: The camera captures light on a curved surface, rather the flat photodetectors in today’s commercial digital cameras. John Rogers, a University of Illinois engineer, says, since light curves as it enters a camera, this is more natural and eliminates complex lensing.

John Rogers: If you want to take out a lot of the bulk and the cost and the weight from the lenses, you can do that and retain spectacular image quality by adding curvature.

Randy Atkins: But while mimicking nature’s eyes enhances static images…

John Rogers: We couldn’t find any examples of a living organism that has the kind of widely adjustable zoom that a conventional, off-the-shelf digital camera has.

Randy Atkins: So Rogers engineered a hydraulic system that allows his photodetector to change its curvature to match changing images during zooming. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.


The eyeball camera still has a few years of engineering tweaks before it will be ready for commercialization.