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Rounding out an insect-eye view

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12:37pm, May 16, 2006

A new humanmade version of an insect's compound eye could perform like the real thing. Because of its pinhead size and anticipated low cost, the eye is promising for many applications, its inventors say. Those uses include miniature surveillance cameras and medical endoscopes.

Flies, bees, and other insects see with faceted eyes made of thousands of lens-capped, light-guiding columns called ommatidia, says bioengineer Luke P. Lee of the University of California, Berkeley. He and his Berkeley colleagues Ki-Hun Jeong and Jaeyoun Kim created an artificial, dome-shaped eye with faux ommatidia. They unveiled the eye in the April 28 Science.

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