In CURVACE project, we intend to design, develop, and assess artificial compound eyes. These novel vision sensors will be composed of microlens arrays arranged on curved and flexible surfaces where each microlens will be integrated with one or more aVLSI adaptive photoreceptors. The output of these artificial compound eyes will be processed by adaptive vision filters implemented in programmable devices, such as microcontrollers or FPGAs, for fast extraction of motion-related information. We call these integrated systems CURVed Artificial Compound Eyes (CURVACE). Compared to conventional cameras, artificial compound eyes will offer a much larger field of view in a smaller size and weight, less distortion, less aberration, and less blur because the distance between the optical surface and the photoreceptors will be constant over the entire field of view. Furthermore, some versions of the artificial compound eyes will offer space within the convexity for embedding processing units, battery, or additional sensors that will assist in motion-related computation.
In order to reach the desired goals, we will take leverage from the novel combination of optic fabrication, neuromorphic engineering, micro-electronics in bendable surfaces, and insect-inspired active vision and motion detection. We will adopt a progressive approach by developing three versions of artificial compound eyes – cylindrical, spherical and tape -- that will allow us to incrementally tackle the technical and scientific challenges and at the same time develop different prototypes that will suit the needs of different applications. In addition to a full characterization of the CURVACE prototypes for their visual processing abilities, we will also assess their added value in applications such as navigation of flying microrobots and wearable sensing.