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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!