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Humankind seems to be moving closer to creating the world sci-fi writers could only imagine. After creating an electronic nose, capable of sniffing out diseases, scientists have created an ‘all-seeing eye’ that can look at different directions simultaneously.
Australian scientists have managed to engineer a kind of insect-like (or ‘compound’) eye which allows for an unobstructed 360–degree panoramic view. The device will help scientists emulate what insects see when they fly around the landscape, how they find food, escape predators and navigate. The researchers are especially interested in understanding how bees find their way back home.
“What we ended up with is actually a bit better than normal insect vision, although we can’t mimic their ability to see colour or polarised light,” said Doctor Jocken Zeil from The Vision Centre and the Australian National University. “However we can now map the spatial arrangement of the views they have in great detail.” The developers say that future prospects of the invention cannot be underestimated. Mounted on robot vehicles, including aircrafts, the eye can guide them more effectively, providing low-cost panoramic security surveillance and novel lighting systems. “Many sorts of wide-angle and panoramic devices have been designed before, but this one gives a wider field of view without obstruction, while being rugged and light-weight,” said Zeil.