Bio-inspired hemispherical compound eye camera

Jianliang Xiao, Young Min Song, Yizhu Xie, Viktor Malyarchuk, Inhwa Jung, Ki Joong Choi, Zhuangjian Liu, Hyunsung Park, Chaofeng Lu, Rak Hwan Kim, Rui Li, Kenneth B. Crozier, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


Compound eyes in arthropods demonstrate distinct imaging characteristics from human eyes, with wide angle field of view, low aberrations, high acuity to motion and infinite depth of field. Artificial imaging systems with similar geometries and properties are of great interest for many applications. However, the challenges in building such systems with hemispherical, compound apposition layouts cannot be met through established planar sensor technologies and conventional optics. We present our recent progress in combining optics, materials, mechanics and integration schemes to build fully functional artificial compound eye cameras. Nearly full hemispherical shapes (about 160 degrees) with densely packed artificial ommatidia were realized. The number of ommatidia (180) is comparable to those of the eyes of fire ants and bark beetles. The devices combine elastomeric compound optical elements with deformable arrays of thin silicon photodetectors, which were fabricated in the planar geometries and then integrated and elastically transformed to hemispherical shapes. Imaging results and quantitative ray-tracing-based simulations illustrate key features of operation. These general strategies seem to be applicable to other compound eye devices, such as those inspired by moths and lacewings (refracting superposition eyes), lobster and shrimp (reflecting superposition eyes), and houseflies (neural superposition eyes).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices II
ISBN (Print)9780819498717
StatePublished - 2014
EventBioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices II - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 1 2014Feb 2 2014

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherBioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices II
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Compound eye
  • Hemispherical shape
  • Imaging
  • Photodetector
  • Stretchable electronics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Bio-inspired hemispherical compound eye camera'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this