Dynamically tunable hemispherical electronic eye camera system with adjustable zoom capability

Inhwa Jung, Jianliang Xiao, Viktor Malyarchuk, Chaofeng Lu, Ming Li, Zhuangjian Liu, Jongseung Yoon, Yonggang Huang*, John A. Rogers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


Imaging systems that exploit arrays of photodetectors in curvilinear layouts are attractive due to their ability to match the strongly nonplanar image surfaces (i.e., Petzval surfaces) that form with simple lenses, thereby creating new design options. Recent work has yielded significant progress in the realization of such "eyeball" cameras, including examples of fully functional silicon devices capable of collecting realistic images. Although these systems provide advantages compared to those with conventional, planar designs, their fixed detector curvature renders them incompatible with changes in the Petzval surface that accompany variable zoom achieved with simple lenses. This paper describes a class of digital imaging device that overcomes this limitation, through the use of photodetector arrays on thin elastomeric membranes, capable of reversible deformation into hemispherical shapes with radii of curvature that can be adjusted dynamically, via hydraulics. Combining this type of detector with a similarly tunable, fluidic planoconvex lens yields a hemispherical camera with variable zoom and excellent imaging characteristics. Systematic experimental and theoretical studies of the mechanics and optics reveal all underlying principles of operation. This type of technology could be useful for night-vision surveillance, endoscopic imaging, and other areas that require compact cameras with simple zoom optics and wide-angle fields of view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1788-1793
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


  • Biomimetic
  • Electronic eyeball camera
  • Flexible electronics
  • Fluidic tunable lens
  • Hydraulic actuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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