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Researchers Create Artificial Insect Eye 140

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the fly-spy dept.
maxzilla writes "An artificial insect eye that could be used in ultra-thin cameras has been developed by scientists in the US.The dimpled eye, contains over 8,500 hexagonal lenses packed into an area the size of a pinhead. The dome-shaped structure, described in the journal Science, is similar to a bee's eye. The researchers, from the University of California, Berkeley, say the work may also shed light on how insects developed such complex, visual systems. Darpa is also funding this project with applications expected for digital cameras and high speed motion detectors."
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Researchers Create Artificial Insect Eye

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  • Hooray! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sathias (884801) on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:09AM (#15219132)
    Now we won't have to provide blind insects with guide dogs!
    • Hold on, I thought eyes were so complex and amazing that they could only have been created by GAWD?
      • Re:Hooray! (Score:2, Redundant)

        by Fred_A (10934)
        It just confirms that god currently works as a scientist in the US. Something we've known for a long time really... ;)
      • Hold on, I thought eyes were so complex and amazing that they could only have been created by GAWD?

        Not "GAWD", but an an intelligent being of some sort. Just like these eyes, created by (in my book, anyway) a team of seriously intelligent beings.

      • Re:Hooray! (Score:1, Insightful)

        by astralbat (828541)
        Hold on, I thought eyes were so complex and amazing that they could only have been created by GAWD?

        No, it was the Flying Spaghetti Monstor [venganza.org], silly!

    • Re:Hooray! (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Adriax (746043)
      Phew, that's good, the dog's sensitive noses were having problems with the lawyer's natural oders.
    • I know, when I read about this amazing new research, I was simply bug-eyed.
  • by unitron (5733) on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:19AM (#15219154) Homepage Journal
    "Researchers Create Artificial Insect Eye"

    When will they be getting around to the rest of the artificial insect?

    • Why build artificial insects when you can remote control cockroaches [wireheading.com]?
    • They already have those... thousands of them in fact, in Windows XP.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:51AM (#15219369) Homepage

      When will they be getting around to the rest of the artificial insect?

      In his book The Age of Spiritual Machines [amazon.com] , futurist Ray Kurzweil ventures that the transformation of humans from flesh-and-blood to total machine bodies will start with small augmentations like this, proceeding step by step until everything original is replaced.

      • In his book The Age of Spiritual Machines , futurist Ray Kurzweil ventures that the transformation of humans from flesh-and-blood to total machine bodies will start with small augmentations like this, proceeding step by step until everything original is replaced.

        That's pretty good, and natural. After all only then we'll be in power to control out own destiny. Of course I don't see the brain being replaced in the near 100-200 years, not just for technical, but also religious, political and moral reasons.
        • I'm pretty sure the only thing that would stop people using artificial brains would be technical limitations, as well as being scared that they won't really be them once they're copied.. and in effect, moving to an artificial brain would kill you, even if you then lived forever. That maybe comes under 'religious', but the fact remains that you would be dead, unless you could transfer your 'ghost' a lá GitS
          • I'm pretty sure the only thing that would stop people using artificial brains would be technical limitations, as well as being scared that they won't really be them once they're copied.. and in effect, moving to an artificial brain would kill you, even if you then lived forever. That maybe comes under 'religious', but the fact remains that you would be dead, unless you could transfer your 'ghost' a lá GitS

            A brain is not a hard drive you can copy, i.e. the very structure of the device is the information
            • yes, I addressed that in my other post, I know that the structure is the brain in the same way that cuts in silicon wafer make up a processor.
            • Whose to say that the topography of the brain could not be digitized and represented in the form of 1's and 0's. We don't know what the limitations are, but certainly nothing on the horizon would lead me to believe that we will do this in my lifetime. The flying machine took 500 years, maybe the digital brain will only take 250.
            • Use nanotechnology. Go neuron after neuron; first enter the host cell, then measure its relevant characteristics, then take over, shut down its cellular mechanisms, and replace them with a functionally identical assembly of nanoparticles. Use the existing cellular membranes and structures as a scaffolding to build on. Then follow up on the nearby neurons. Continue until all neurons are replaced. Then repeat the sequence, this time upgrading the now-artificial structures to an enhanced version, taking full a
        • Why not? A simple plastic one should suffice. It's not like most people use it.

          It will be the people with religious, political, and moral objections that will be the first ones to have their brains replaced (or at least modified) anyway.
        • Of course I don't see the brain being replaced in the near 100-200 years, not just for technical, but also religious, political and moral reasons.

          Religion, politics, and morality will most likley be the main reasons people do switch to artificial brains.

          Especially if the "other side" has got em.
      • though, saying that, if you replaced the brain a piece at a time, then you would likely still be 'alive', and you would still be you.. you wouldnt have to cut off your own brain functions, just slowly replace them.. and you wouldnt notice the difference.. :s freaky .. guess to do it properly you'd have to have nanites replacing every neuron in your brain one at a time.. such a strange idea.. there isn't really any difference between a simulated and a real neuron, in function at least..
  • Tables Turn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by d'alz (959455) <dalz...rodrigues@@@gmail...com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:24AM (#15219166) Journal
    So we are competing with nature now. Very soon the blind will have a better option at vision and the rest of us will be scrambling in the dark. That would be a funny sight.
    • Very soon the blind will have a better option at vision and the rest of us will be scrambling in the dark.
      It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye...

      Then they get fitted with a broad-spectrum robo-eye & hunt you down in the middle of the night.
  • by Physician (861339) on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:28AM (#15219179) Homepage
    I'll be impressed when they can transplant this eye into a poor blind insect.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:31AM (#15219183)
    Relevant stories has been on slashdot before here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] where scientists have successfully developed artificial eyes and implanted.

    The question, I want to ask is, is it still in research phase or professional services will start becoming available, when and how much it might cost?

    There is pool of blind people in developing countries like India, China and so on. The inofrmation might be useful for them too.

    [Posting anonymously to avoid karma whoring]

    • The question, I want to ask is, is it still in research phase or professional services will start becoming available, when and how much it might cost?

      The problem is all these are misleading. Articles about wiring cameras to the eye nerves, artificial eyes and so on are coming down the pipe for years now. I remember not less than 4 years ago articles about artificial eyes that can help blind people.

      In most cases, the misleading sytarts right at the source, where for PR reasons the achievement is blown out of
      • [...] where for PR reasons the achievement is blown out of proportion for PR reasons [...]

        And the PR people work in the Department of Redundancy Department?

        • And the PR people work in the Department of Redundancy Department?

          Yes, however, I really wish the there are less grammar/sentence-flow nazys about my grammar and sentence flow really, however.
          • Yes, however, I really wish the there are less grammar/sentence-flow nazys about my grammar and sentence flow really, however.

            Usually I would agree. Sometimes however, as is the case here, they are a necessary evil. :)
    • "There is pool of blind people in developing countries like India, China and so on. The inofrmation might be useful for them too."

      Too bad they can't read the article...
  • by mitymidget (946765) on Friday April 28, 2006 @03:46AM (#15219209) Homepage
    ...They didn't create it, dosn't anyone watch X-Files, its a discover lead by the Aliens, who will use the new eye to further the artificial development of insects to carry Alien genetic material to form the super Alien race (we all know humans are the most suppiorer already, just not intelectual). Comming soon, nanite insects that "Repair" damaged organs or tissue...Yeah Repair
    • Comming soon, nanite insects that "Repair" damaged organs or tissue...Yeah Repair Please tell those aliens we've been doing this for thousands of years already.
    • As someone cleverly pointed out before on /. maybe we are those aliens ;) don't have to be too scared of someone else getting there first. It does also seem kind of ironic to spell superior as 'suppiorer', while claiming yourself to be superior. Someone may point out that it's not irony, but I'm not even sure what irony is anymore after people complaining that some things are just coincidences =p
  • New viewing angle tecnique for movies - fly on the wall...
  • SEEE! This PROVES the eye is so complex that it requires an Intelligent Designer! :P
    • Ok so there's the Evolutionists, and the ID:ers, but other than Douglas Adams and myself, who else believes in the lesser known _Un-Intelligent (But Ambitious!) Designer_?

      And that would explain the disappearance of the dinosaurs too. Ooops, fucked it up. Sowwy. We'll have to try again. Let's try Humans this time. Yes... Yes.. Excellent physical design, but brains too unevolved. Let Humans consume the Earth's resources disparately and divide their wealth unevenly until they realize the error of their ways. T
    • Nah, I'm sure they just found it in the bottom of a cupboard, where someone left a pile of batteries, microprocessors, motors, actuators, sensors and the like.. and they sorted themselves out naturally. Whoever left that pile there is the Creator though.
  • It's comforting to know that our future robot masters will have terrifying, alien faces with which to express their terrifying, alien throught processes.
    • I would've thought that robot overlords would use something a bit more sophisticated and convenient - for example WLAN. Everyone just broadcasts their current mood etc. and the need for an optical information channel becomes nonexistant, at least as far as conversations are concerned.

      I didn't say that it's be convenient for us... But for them it would be clearly superior to trying to determine one's thoughts by looking at the face.


      Until someone sniffs out the connection and injects packets stating that
      • as long as they have no physical interaction in the world, then we wont have much to fear from them, apart from having our credit revoked >_> everyone could just go back to working the land :p
    • The terrifying, alien thought processes of an IEEE 754 compliant Robot Master:

      Mathematician: But I'm telling you, division by zero is impossible!
      Robot Master: Does not compute. Division by zero equals infinity.
      Mathematician: Then what about multiplying zero by infinity? Is that also infinity? No, it isn't, it's z-e-r-o!
      Robot Master: Does not compute. Multiplication by infinity equals infinity.
      Mathematician: Exactly! So division by zero is impossible!
      Robot Master: Does not compute. Division by zero equals in
    • I, for one, would like to be the first to welcome our new bionic-eyed insect masters...
  • Surveilance! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by putko (753330) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:25AM (#15219292) Homepage Journal
    If you thought those fiber-optic based surveillance cams were bad, you'll hate these even more.

    Yeah, this will find tons of apps in all sorts of useful places, but at a certain point, they'll be so cheap that you'll have to be afraid that people have hidden them somewhere, and that you are being watched.

    This will be like camera phones, but squared and then cubed.

  • It's not only insects we're mimicing, crustaceans too. Astronomers have investigated the eyes of lobsters and used the way they focus light to create a Lobster Telescope For X-Rays [sciencedaily.com]
  • A bit premature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fred_A (10934) <fred.fredshome@org> on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:46AM (#15219357) Homepage
    According to TFA, "At the moment, the artificial eye is not connected to any kind of imaging device.".

    I understand that whoever made this thing is eager to show it around but shouldn't they actually wait until they have something to show ?
    It's becoming the norm nowadays to announce stuff that's only half done... I don't know if it's to satisfy investors or what but it sounds quite silly.

    "look, we have this great insectile artificial eye !"

    "impressive, what does it see ?"

    "we don't know"

    Well, duh.
  • by master_p (608214) on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:28AM (#15219444)
    Future wars will not be faught by giant robots or ultra-enhanced bionic soldiers or UAVs. They will be faught by fleets of artificial insects with collaborative AI.

    Artificial insects are capable of a wide range of operations:

    1) psyops: killing the important people of the opposing force (leaders, generals, scientists, etc) would be as easy as sending an insectoid armed with deadly poison. Undetectable, it can sting its victim while the victim is sleeping, or goes to the bathroom, or is in a public place surrounded by thousands of people.

    2) blocking enemy forces: a swarm of insectoids can easily render whole armies inoperable in a blink of an eye: tanks, rocket launchers, comm centers can be rendered inoperable with few insectoids injecting the proper substances at the proper places.

    3) invading a land by only killing humans, living infrastructure intact.

    A swarm of insectoids can go undetected by radar, since insectoids can fly in small formations, and only joined at the destination.

    Nanomachines can be used to create billions of one-time insectoids at very low cost.
  • by elFisico (877213)
    Seems german scientists beat those US scientists to it. The team from the Fraunhofer Institute received a german research award for creating an artificial insect eye over a year ago.

    Find more technical infos here [tu-ilmenau.de] (sorry, german only).
    • Looks like the authors of the article in Science replied to your criticism already.

      See [slashdot.org] what they say in regards to previous work in reference 8.

      Reference 8: J. Duparre, P. Dannberg, P. Schreiber, A. Brauer, A. Tunnermann, Appl. Opt. 44, 2949 (2005).
  • Dump the sci-fi (Score:4, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:51AM (#15219483)
    Why is it that 99% of those articles try to be done with the boring facts as fast as possible and dive into the exciting world of "this may/can/will be used for [INSERT SOMETHING FROM A MOVIE OR SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS REALLY IMPORTANT]" speculation.

    So if a new sort of "no unpopped kernels" popcorns was disovered, we'll have to read how this will lead to us flying to distant galaxies and finding the purpose of existence.
    • Not quite.
      See, in the case of people discovering some new phenomenon, or some amazing new theorem, yes, your point is very valid.

      But in case of inventions (or rather tools, as is the case here), if the scientists are doing it at all, they will be doing it with some future goals in mind.
      Otherwise, why would they even go ahead doing it?

      These guys would have thought of all the amazing future possibilities that is possible with such inventions, and there is nothing bad in telling them to the public also.
      • Re:Dump the sci-fi (Score:4, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 (956391) on Friday April 28, 2006 @10:50AM (#15220828)
        But in case of inventions (or rather tools, as is the case here), if the scientists are doing it at all, they will be doing it with some future goals in mind.

        Correct, but the articles lead many people (see grand-grandparent) to believe the invention is working and the practical implementation is about to happen, which is totally misleading.

        What we get is very small and (in the big picture) insignificant steps to solve the puzzle of bringing an invention in working state to the market, but we get breaking news that we're about to get flying cars every other week.

        People get tired, and start becoming suspicious. Is this what we want.
  • into a matching display. Apple already has the patent [slashdot.org]
  • Biologically Inspired Artificial Compound Eyes [sciencemag.org]
    Ki-Hun Jeong, Jaeyoun Kim, Luke P. Lee*

    This work presents the fabrication of biologically inspired artificial compound eyes. The artificial ommatidium, like that of an insect's compound eyes, consists of a refractive polymer microlens, a light-guiding polymer cone, and a self-aligned waveguide to collect light with a small angular acceptance. The ommatidia are omnidirectionally arranged along a hemispherical polymer dome such that they provide a wide field of v

    • Artificial implementation of compound eyes has attracted a great deal of research interest, because the wide FOV exhibits a huge potential for medical, industrial, and military applications. So far, imaging with a FOV over 90 has been achieved only with fish eye lenses, which rely on bulky and expensive multiple lenses and require stringent alignment. The use of miniaturized, arrayed optical components fabricated by using semiconductor planar processing technologies has been proposed to simultaneously mimic

  • "complex visual systems" not "complex, visual systems"
  • ... how insects developed such complex, visual systems ... The best workers for the development of new digicams?
  • This is great news for the many insects who have lost one or both eyes due to an tragic accident or illness. It is one step closer to the ultimate goal of producing artificial fish eyes for blind fish.
  • An artificial insect eye, the size of a pinhead. Imagine how many of these high school principals and senior law firm partners will be able to install in the typical girls/women's restroom... for "security" purposes.

    Some countries have passed a law that cellphone cameras have to make a loud shutter noise to warn people they may be being photographed. Will this be required to make a really loud buzzing? Can you even miniaturize a speaker down that small or does there come a point where you just can't move en

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