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Sensors 2014, 14(11), 21702-21721;

Hardware Architecture and Cutting-Edge Assembly Process of a Tiny Curved Compound Eye

Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, UMR 7287 ISM, 13288 Marseille, France
Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, UMR 7346 CPPM, 13288 Marseille, France
Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering, 07745 Jena, Germany
Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Biology, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 September 2014 / Revised: 7 November 2014 / Accepted: 10 November 2014 / Published: 17 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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The demand for bendable sensors increases constantly in the challenging field of soft and micro-scale robotics. We present here, in more detail, the flexible, functional, insect-inspired curved artificial compound eye (CurvACE) that was previously introduced in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, 2013). This cylindrically-bent sensor with a large panoramic field-of-view of \(180^\circ\) \(\times\) \(60^\circ\)composed of 630 artificial ommatidia weighs only 1.75 g, is extremely compact and power-lean (0.9 W), while it achieves unique visual motion sensing performance (1950 frames per second) in a five-decade range of illuminance. In particular, this paper details the innovative Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) sensing layout, the accurate assembly fabrication process, the innovative, new fast read-out interface, as well as the auto-adaptive dynamic response of the CurvACE sensor. Starting from photodetectors and microoptics on wafer substrates and flexible printed circuit board, the complete assembly of CurvACE was performed in a planar configuration, ensuring high alignment accuracy and compatibility with state-of-the art assembling processes. The characteristics of the photodetector of one artificial ommatidium have been assessed in terms of their dynamic response to light steps. We also characterized the local auto-adaptability of CurvACE photodetectors in response to large illuminance changes: this feature will certainly be of great interest for future applications in real indoor and outdoor environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: compound optics; optical sensors; active pixel sensors; flexible electronics; fast bus; robotics compound optics; optical sensors; active pixel sensors; flexible electronics; fast bus; robotics

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Viollet, S.; Godiot, S.; Leitel, R.; Buss, W.; Breugnon, P.; Menouni, M.; Juston, R.; Expert, F.; Colonnier, F.; L'Eplattenier, G.; Brückner, A.; Kraze, F.; Mallot, H.; Franceschini, N.; Pericet-Camara, R.; Ruffier, F.; Floreano, D. Hardware Architecture and Cutting-Edge Assembly Process of a Tiny Curved Compound Eye. Sensors 2014, 14, 21702-21721.

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