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Fly eyes inspire ultimate camera

Wait! Before you swat that annoying fly, consider this: Its eyes inspired the invention of a camera with a 360-degree view on the world and the ability to reproduce images in 3-D.

The applications are seemingly limitless, ranging from enhanced robot navigation and surveillance to 3-D movies and immersive realities for video gamers.

Go into detail in this video news release.

Taking a cue from the common housefly’s eyes, which are composed of thousands of spherical photoreceptors, packed more than 100 cameras similar to those used in mobile phones onto an orange-sized metallic sphere. The result is a camera that sees information located all around it. At the same time, special algorithms calculate the distance to the objects it sees, enabling the creation of an accurate 3D reconstruction.

This contrasts with traditional 3-D images, which generally start with 2-D images made with two lenses that are then overlaid to generate a 3-D effect when seen with special glasses. Newer technology is making 3-D imagery possible with single-lens, point-and-shoot cameras such as the Sony WX5 and TX9.

But the 360-degree camera that sees in 3-D “is likely to change the entire field of image acquisition, with a huge range of potential applications


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