Your next eyeglass exam might see an upgrade thanks to a high-tech astronomy tool developed to help see distant celestial bodies more clearly.
The technique, called wavefront analysis, takes precise measurements of how light reflected from the back of the eye exits. The difference between how light would be refracted through a normally shaped lens and cornea and how it is actually refracted creates a precise map of optical abnormalities known as higher-order aberrations.
"Astronomers already used these techniques to enable a clear telescopic view of planets and stars, undistorted by the focusing aberrations resulting from the Earth’s atmosphere," says Dr. Anthony Adams, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Optometry and Vision Science. "In the past two decades, optometry and ophthalmology researchers have borrowed techniques for measuring and correcting these higher-order abnormalities.”
A Canadian company is fighting counterfeiters by employing one of the most sophisticated structures in nature: a butterfly wing.
To be precise, Nanotech Security Corp. in Vancouver is using the natural structure of the wings of a Morpho butterfly, a South American insect famous for its bright, iridescent blue or green wings, to create a visual image that would be practically impossible to counterfeit. The technology was developed at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University, and licensed to the company.
The phenomenon Nanotech employs is similar to the way some animals, including male peacocks, produce iridescent colors: instead of using proteins and other chemicals to produce a hue, the creature’s feathers or scales play with light, using very tiny holes that reflect different colors or wavelengths. The Morpho does this with complicated scales on its wing that produce shimmering blues and greens.
Robots these days often take their inspiration from nature. Now cameras mimicking bug eyes that can look in many directions simultaneously can be made en masse, researchers say. These novel devices, each possessing hundreds of microscopic lenses, could find use as surveillance cameras on flying droids or in minimally invasive surgical operations.
The compound eyes of insects and other invertebrates are each made of up to thousands of relatively simple light-sensing facets known as ommatidia. These cover curved, hemispherical surfaces so that each points in slightly different directions. As such, compound eyes can have much wider fields of view than human eyes or regular cameras, including panoramic ones reaching nearly 360 degrees all the way around.