According to a press release from the university, UCLA bioengineers have created a new class of bionic 3D camera systems that can accurately mimic the multiview vision of flies and the natural sonar sensing of bats.
The camera can identify concealed things.
The new camera uses computational image processing to determine the size and shape of things that are concealed behind or around corners.
The new gadget makes use of a sonar technique similar to echolocation used by bats. High-frequency squeaks made by bats are picked up by human ears after bouncing off their surroundings. In order to establish where things are, what is in the way, and the proximity of possible prey, they compare differences in how long it takes for the echo to reach them and the strength of the sound.
In contrast, insects have compound eyes that are geometrically formed, and each “eye” is made up of hundreds to thousands of separate units for seeing. This implies that they can view the same object from several angles.
The scientists created a high-performance 3D camera system that takes advantage of these benefits present in bats and insects while also addressing any inherent drawbacks.
Although the concept has been tested, Liang Gao, an associate professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, noted that seeing over a wide variety of distances and over obstructions has proven to be a significant challenge.
In order to solve this problem, “we built a revolutionary computational imaging framework, which for the first time permits the acquisition of a wide and deep panoramic image with simple optics and a modest array of sensors.”
Studies have shown that the new framework, known as “Compact Light-field Photography,” or CLIP, can be utilized to “see” hidden objects. A sort of LiDAR, or “Light Detection And Ranging,” which uses a laser to scan the surroundings and produce a 3D map of the environment, supports this effect.
CLIP and seven LIDAR cameras
In order to obtain a lower-resolution image of the scene, process what each camera sees, and reconstruct the entire scene in high-resolution 3D imaging, the new device combines seven LiDAR cameras with CLIP.
The California NanoSystems Institute member Gao said, “If you’re covering one eye and gazing at your laptop computer, and there’s a coffee mug just slightly buried behind it, you might not see it because the laptop limits the vision.”
“However, you’ll notice that you’ll have a greater view of the object if you use both eyes. That’s kind of what’s going on here, except try to picture the mug through the compound eye of an insect. Now, several perspectives are conceivable.
Now, the technique might be applied to driverless automobiles or imaging devices for healthcare. Nature Communications has published the study.