Harvard University Group Proposes Metalens for Depth Camera

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Inspired by jumping spiders 3D vision, researchers at the Harvard University have developed a compact and efficient depth sensor combining a multifunctional, flat metalens with an efficient algorithm to measure depth in a single shot. Their paper "Compact single-shot metalens depth sensors inspired by eyes of jumping spiders" by Qi Guo, Zhujun Shi, Yao-Wei Huang, Emma Alexander, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Federico Capasso, and Todd Zickler has been published in PNAS.

"Nature provides diverse solutions to passive visual depth sensing. Evolution has produced vision systems that are highly specialized and efficient, delivering depth-perception capabilities that often surpass those of existing artificial depth sensors. Here, we learn from the eyes of jumping spiders and demonstrate a metalens depth sensor that shares the compactness and high computational efficiency of its biological counterpart. Our device combines multifunctional metalenses, ultrathin nanophotonic components that control light at a subwavelength scale, and efficient computations to measure depth from image defocus. Compared with previous passive artificial depth sensors, our bioinspired design is lightweight, single-shot, and requires a small amount of computation. The integration of nanophotonics and efficient computation establishes a paradigm for design in computational sensing."


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