First the fish eye lens, now the ‘insect eye’ 160 degree wide angle lens with zero distortion…

A US-Korean team has developed the world’s first 160 degree super wide angle digital camera lens.

Dr. Song Youngmin from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, along with researchers from Illinois, Harvard and Northwestern has created the lens based on the ‘compound eyes’ concept found in insects. The lens combines images from numerous small micro-lenses to provide a complete 160 degree view.

The project leader, John Rogers, explained that the new lens won’t suffer from distortions normally associated with wide-angle lenses:

“For a full insect type eye like the one that we constructed, the center of the field of view is exactly the same as the periphery — no distortions, loss of resolution, or reduction in illumination intensity. The construction essentially allows one to look in all directions at once.

At present, only 180 micro lenses are mounted but the research team has bigger ideas. The team believes the technology is scalable to 20,000 micro lenses or more…