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Researchers create 'adaptive metalens' that can outperform human eyes

By Polycount · 12 replies
Aug 21, 2019
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  1. The team in question has developed an "adaptive metalens," that can adjust its focus in real-time, as the human eye can -- but with some added improvements that allow it to outperform what even the best human eyes are capable of.

    The metalens, according to researcher Alan She, can not only change its focus, but it can also dynamically correct for "aberrations" such as astigmatism (a condition that causes blurred vision) and "image shift." As you can imagine, such a lens would be tremendously useful for consumers: it could be built-in to high-tech eyewear, installed in cameras, or used in microscopes.

    Apparently, researchers have managed to combine two industries: semiconductor manufacturing and lens-making. "This research provides the possibility of unifying two industries, semiconductor manufacturing and lens-making," said researcher Federico Capasso. "whereby the same technology used to make computer chips will be used to make metasurface-based optical components, such as lenses."

    "This research provides the possibility of unifying two industries, semiconductor manufacturing and lens-making, whereby the same technology used to make computer chips will be used to make metasurface-based optical components, such as lenses."

    The team's metalens is comprised of many tiny "nanostructures," embedded electrodes, and dielectric "elastomers" (artificial muscles), which can shrink or stretch based on the voltage applied to them. The idea was to emulate a healthy human eye, which uses surrounding ciliary muscle to change the shape of its "lens," and then build upon it.

    Combined, the metalens and its corresponding elastomers only come in at about 30 microns thick, but they can be up to several millimeters (or more) in diameter. Compared to the research team's previous metalens projects (which only resulted in lenses about the size of a piece of glitter) this new lens could prove far more efficient and practical for consumer gadgets and eyewear.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2019
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,705   +4,044

    Not to mention, with further development, the possible creation of a replacement for the human eye. Imagine the benefit of that!
     
    wizardB, MaitieS and Black Paper like this.
  3. MMWWMM

    MMWWMM TS Rookie

    And 32K TVs market that come with that
     
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,572   +2,054

    I just want improved lenses that will provide extremely wide field of view with a clear image for VR. Add eye tracking, higher resolutions and higher refresh rates to it and you'll have the golden combination. (hopefully for under 400$ :p)
     
  5. blackincubus

    blackincubus TS Rookie

    Who has money for this, Dad?
     
  6. SirDigby

    SirDigby TS Evangelist Posts: 527   +189

    I really want this - I'm not allowed to drive because of my poor eyesight. It wouldn't be so much of an issue but my Mrs is scared of driving despite having had 40 odd lessons...
     
  7. blackincubus

    blackincubus TS Rookie

    gg
     
  8. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,646   +611

    Would the name of her instructor happen to be Warren? I'm like the only person in the USA who's seen that show I love it :). I can't seem to get my girlfriend to drive either, she has driven, but she's afraid to drive.
     
  9. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 498   +236

    There are already mutants out there with supervision. Genetical enhancements will make us able to see in the dark and see colors we haven't seen before and finally energy waves.
     
  10. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 637   +410

    First, energy isn't a "wave" at all. E=mc², remember? Energy is literally just the transfer of momentum from one body of matter to another. That's it. That's all it ever was.

    Second, the receptor itself will not and cannot allow us to "see" other spectra of photons. Our optic nerves define this, not the lens. There are only two real colors, red and violet, at the quantum level - in the visible spectrum of photons. Seeing in other spectra would require new optic nerves and new parts of our brains, to see what insects and other animals "see". You can't just change physics by fiat, you know.

    One could transpose infrared photons into a visible range for us to SEE, but that's not the same as seeing actual infrared photons. You would still see an RV color, not actual infrared. Transposing isn't the same as SEEING, at all.
     
    wizardB and Nero7 like this.
  11. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 498   +236

    A theory that is likely to not withstand the test of time.

    What the rest of your post has to do with mine is hard for me to grasp thou. Where do I specifically talk about receptors and eye lenses? I used the very broad genetics term.

    Maybe you should google Supervision and mutants a bit. This isn't some Marvel X-men fantasy. These people exist already and are out there and are documented.
     
  12. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Addict Posts: 312   +130

    Unfortunately, knowing the current standards in tech, this "replacement eye" would be just another camera connected to some central hub via wifi and sending everything you see to some subcontractors for analysis.

    Also, if the eyes will contain a little input too (for augmented reality) you literally won't be able to trust your own eyes anymore. Someone else will be controlling your input. Our future is basically a dictatorship, completely different from what most of the naive sci-fi writers have predicted.
     
  13. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +1,321

    If it can "replace" a human eye, I would only go for it if it mimicked the "six million dollar man" boop boop boop sound ;)
     

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