How Tiny Eyes Inspire Technology
About this video
Informed by nature.
Dr Chris Forman of Cambridge University looks at the eyes of a beetle and fruit fly to explain how they have inspired technology.
Dr Forman comments that
“Nature has found remarkable ways of using small amounts of energy to combine common elements such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen into fascinating and complex assemblies... If we could do the same in our manufacturing processes then perhaps we could recycle our products more easily".
Dr Forman's research into biomaterials is looking at how nature can construct many different structures from the same common elements, and how these might one day feed into the production of everything from food to factories.
Size of these images:
μm = micron (one thousandth of a millimetre)
Beetle eye: each individual lens is 12 μm (the thickness of cling film), the entire eye is about 750 μm across (thickness of 5 sheets of paper) and the entire image is about 240 μm across (really thick bit of human hair).
Fruit fly eye: Again each lens is about 10 μm (thickness of cling film), and the entire eye is about 200-300 μm (3 sheets of paper). The total distance across the image is about 115 μm across (thickness of a human hair).