Cheap polarization imaging sensor mimics mantis shrimp's eyes

October 17, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Cheap polarization imaging sensor mimics mantis shrimp's eyes
Researchers from the University of Illinois found their inspiration in one of nature's most complex visual systems, that of the mantis shrimps, to design a high dynamic range polarization imager which they argue could be produced for less than $10.

Compared to Red Green Blue (RGB) patterned colour imaging sensors, polarization imaging sensors deliver another set of information about objects reflecting light. As the researchers explain in the introduction of a paper "Bioinspired polarization imager with high dynamic range" published in the Optica journal, the polarization state of light can act like a memory foam by “remembering” the intrinsic properties of the media or objects that light has encountered in previous optical interactions, this includes information about their three-dimensional shape, surface roughness, and material or tissue structural composition. The authors think that a cheap high dynamic range polarization imager would have its place on-board cars to provide critical information during hazy or rainy conditions when traditional sensor may fail. A high-dynamic-range is also desirable to capture scenes where the illumination can easily vary by several orders of magnitude, when exiting a garage or a tunnel or when cross the light beam from an oncoming vehicle.

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