One of the most amazing inventions to date was announced by media outlets like science daily. A tiny camera with a versatile zoom which has the ability to enhance endoscopic imaging, dubbed as “Robotics, Night Vision.” It has been compared to the human eye but only better, while it true that human eyes do not have zoom lenses, how does this comparison hold up?
“The “eyeball camera” has a 3.5x optical zoom, takes sharp images, is inexpensive to make and is only the size of a nickel. (A higher zoom is possible with the technology.) While the camera won’t be appearing at Best Buy any time soon, the tunable camera — once optimized — should be useful in many applications, including night-vision surveillance, robotic vision, endoscopic imaging and consumer electronics.”
“We were inspired by the human eye, but we wanted to go beyond the human eye,” said Yonggang Huang, Joseph Cummings Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. “
Does the original paper claim it’s an improvement over the human eye? In PNAS…”Mammalian eyes provide the biological inspiration for hemispherical cameras, where Petzval-matched curvature in the photodetector array can dramatically simplify lens design without degrading the field of view, focal area, illumination uniformity, or image quality.” Adding the invention of the zoom lens has gone beyond it’s design in nature.
Researchers sighted two cases in biology where animals have a kind of binary zoom: “in avian vision, where shallow pits in the retina lead to images with two fixed levels of zoom (50% high magnification in the center of the center of the field of view),” and “imaging properties occur, but in an irreversible fashion, during metamorphosis in amphibian vision to accommodate transitions from aquatic to terrestrial environments.” The curvilinear camera unlike animal eyes, would be capable of continuous zoom. Does this mean it’s an improvement over the eyeball? The authors conclude…“Interestingly, biology and evolution do not provide guides for achieving the sort of large-range, adjustable zoom capabilities that are widely available in man-made cameras.”
Even if researchers find a way to improve the eye, they would indirectly be supporting the intelligent design of the creator. Reverse engineering gives glory to the Designer of what is being imitated. Despite their passing reference about evolution, its story about step by step accidents has nothing to do with the brilliant engineering of the eye. Human ingenuity can and does exceed biology all the time. No animals can explore the sun, the moon, the solar system, deep space, or invent x-rays, harness energy where it produces artificial light so we can see at night. God gave humans the minds and hands to expand their biological capabilities!