Science: Insect Optics

Most optical instruments use lenses, mirrors or prisms to coax rays of light. This system works all right for microscopes and telescopes but not for the long, flexible probes (gastroscopes and broncho-scopes) that physicians use for peering into human stomachs and lungs. To permit the peerer to see around irregular curves, the instruments have to be packed with many small lenses, which absorb a lot of the light. Unless the field of vision is very small, the image is badly distorted before it reaches the eyepiece end.

According to Britain's Nature, copying the principle used in the compound eyes of insects may...

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