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Photo of the Day: ‘Eying’ Disease

Wed, 10/02/2013 - 12:32pm
The Optical Society

The iris component of the new imaging system, next to its human counterpart. The lens component is not pictured. (Credit: Gisela and Erwin Sick Chair of Micro-optics)

For hundreds of years, optical devices like telescopes and microscopes have relied on solid lenses that slide up and down to magnify and to focus. To tune how much light is received, conventional devices use mechanical contraptions like the blades that form the adjustable aperture in cameras. To meet demands for ever smaller imaging systems, researchers are working to create entirely unconventional ways of focusing light. In pursuit of this vision, engineers from the University of Freiburg in Germany have built a novel type of imaging system inspired by the elegance and relative mechanical simplicity of the human eye. The technology may one day lead to new imaging instruments and microscopes for use in medicine and scientific research, such as devices for detecting early signs of skin cancer or early visual cues for food spoilage.

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