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Optics Engineers Improve Light Sensors for Cameras Through Biomimicry

Casey Luskin

Who would have thought? According to an article at the website of IEEE, “Sony Creates Curved CMOS Sensors That Mimic the Eye,” engineers have been able to improve cameras by creating light-sensors that are curved like an eye. The article explains:

The retinas of humans and other animals line the curved inner surface of the eye. Now, in a bit of biomimicry, Sony engineers reports that they have created a set of curved CMOS image sensors using a “bending machine” of their own construction. The result is a simpler lens system and higher sensitivity… A curved CMOS sensor has a few advantages over a planar sensor, Itonaga said. Because of the geometry, it can be paired with a flatter lens and a larger aperture, which lets in more light. Photodiodes at the periphery of a sensor array will be bent toward the center, which means light rays will hit them straight on instead of obliquely.

Compared to their planar counterparts, “the curved systems were 1.4 times more sensitive at the center of the sensor and twice as sensitive at the edge.” An article at explains that the superior curved light-sensitive chips might soon be used in digital cameras or cell phones. Digital cameras, and cell phone cameras, of course, are the result of millions of years of blind and unguided evolutionary processes, not intelligent design.

Oh wait, that’s not right. Biomimicry is so confusing.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.