Necessity is the mother of invention, but have you ever thought of implementing the concepts of ancient underwater species in building state-of-the-art technologies? Well, that’s what the researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have come up with. It has been asserted that an iconographic camera has a specific field of concentration ranging between 3 cm and 1.7 cm, thus keeping all other objects blurred. This circle in the frame is what we call the “depth of field,” and scientists have achieved this new milestone by aligning this technology with nature.
Scientists have modeled ancient trilobites to emulate this three-dimensional space camera. The species lived underwater a billion years ago, having quite a distinctive nervus opticus mechanism that has put the researchers in awe. One of the foremost species to have compound eyes, constituting lenses of specific refractive indexes for each eye and a middle bump in the upper layer of lenses made smoother for Dalmanitina socialis to concentrate on an object not only in front of it but also on its sides, thus giving it a wider visual area to focus on. With this in mind, the researchers at NIST have decided to implement this concept of depth, transparency, refraction, color, and specularity (which they have been struggling with previously) in the light field cameras, which have the aforementioned points of differentiation concerning traditional cameras. The idea proved a step forward in the right direction, with the right strategies in the minds of the researchers.
The camera works by encapsulating light from all directions, having the capability to let in not just the color and depth of the nearby object, but also the light rays from all directions. After the picture is taken, we can adjust the parameters like color, transparency, hues, and occlusion to our visual range and convenience. According to the report, which was compiled in Nature Communications, “This bioinspired nanophotonic light-field camera, together with the computational post-processing, not only achieves full-color imaging with extreme DoF but is also able to eliminate the optical aberrations induced by the meta-optics.”