The capture of a wide field of view (FOV) scene by dividing it into multiple sub-images is a technique with many precedents in the natural world, the most familiar being the compound eyes of insects and arthropods. Artificial structures of networked cameras and simple compound eyes have been constructed for applications in robotics and machine vision. Previous work in this laboratory has explored the construction and calibration of sensors which produce multiple small images (of ~150 pixels in diameter) for high-speed object tracking.
In this paper design options are presented for electronic compound eyes consisting of 101 - 103 identical 'eyelets'. To implement a compound eye, multiple sub-images can be captured by distributing cameras and/or image collection optics. Figures of merit for comparisons will be developed to illustrate the impact of design choices on the field of view, resolution, information rate, image processing, calibration, environmental sensitivity and compatibility with integrated CMOS imagers.
Whereas compound eyes in nature are outward-looking, the methodology and subsystems for an outward-looking compound-eye sensor are similar for in an inward-looking sensor, although inward-looking sensors have a common region viewable to all eyelets simultaneously. The paper addresses the design considerations for compound eyes in both outward-looking and inward-looking configurations.