Extinct marine arthropods make for great design references -- just ask Andreas Brückner. The Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Optics and Precision Engineering researcher has taken a cue from the trilobite in creating a 1.4mm thin "cluster eye" camera to take 221 images at 39 pixels per side to form a 700 x 550 (0.38 megapixel) composite. At this point, it's also capable of recording 13 frames per second for video, and with a size like that, if they can bump up the specs it could pave way for smaller camera components in mobile phones. Not anytime soon, of course, as it's still in the research state (and it's just one of many camera research projects out there). The next step for Brückner and company is shrinking the aforementioned design to 1mm thin (and up the video to 30fps), as well as 1.5mm variant with one megapixel resolution.

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'Trilobite' compound eye puts a Paleozoic spin on mobile camera design