A team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed and built a flexible pixel imaging array. Instead of a planar, rigid array, like the CMOS and CCD detectors that are now common in digital cameras, their sensor can be curved. Their goal is to build a camera that is similar to the human eye, where as you'll recall, the imaging is done on the retina on the curved hemispherical inside of the eyeball. Their trick is to build the array with each pixel interconnected by flexible arc-shaped wires (or ribbons). The pixels themselves are still rigid, but the wires can bend, which allows the entire array to flex.


They then adhered it to a hemispherical substrate, and voila -- an eyeball cam!


Their current detector has only 256 pixels, but as they improve their technique, both the number and density of light-sensing elements should increase.

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