A team from the Fraunhofer IOF Institute in Germany is working on a project called facetVISION Camera. Their objective is to build ultra-thin cameras and microscopes. The current technology, inspired by the mammalian eye, has reached its limits in terms of size, the best example being the bulge in your smartphone camera.
In order to miniaturize cameras, the research team at Fraunhofer IOF needed to develop another technology and found inspiration looking at the eyes of the male Xenos peckii, a parasite of the Northern Paper Wasp. Insects usually have compound eyes, which consist of tiny lenses, called facets, and a few receptor cells. They are very compact, but have low resolution. Mammalian eyes have a single lense to focus light onto a sheet of receptor cells, the retina. That is how we get higher resolution, but at the cost of bulkiness.
However, the eyes of male X. peckii are a compromise between these two extremes. The other advantage of this technology is the possibility to have a wider field of view at a low cost. So far, the project’s researchers have succeeded in making a camera with 135 facets that is only 2mm thick, but that has a resolution of one megapixel. Now the team is aiming to achieve a four megapixel resolution, which is enough for many applications, including medical probes, smartphones, or cameras in cars.
The project website (http://www.facetvision.de/) is highly interesting and offers a detailed explanations.
The French Tech Ticket is a programme designed for entrepreneurs from all over the world who want to launch their startups in France. Its second call for applications just closed with a selection of 70 foreign projects. The French Tech Ticket encourages foreign entrepreneurs to create startups in France with the goal of attracting international talent, sharing entrepreneurial cultures, and creating the conditions in the company for international growth. In 2017, 8,150 projects were submitted from 100 countries, which shows a real interest in this programme.
The French Tech Ticket offers funding of €45,000 per project to cover professional expenses. Successful participants will join one of the 41 partner incubators throughout France for a term of 12 months. They will be monitored and assisted by experts. Three projects involving Canadians have been selected.
Uconekt Inc. is one of the Canadian winners and is focused on Biometrics and Security. The founders are Stephen COUCHMAN and Vincent Rudranauth RAMOUTAR. They chose to work at the Fast Forward Normandy Incubator (Normandy French Tech). Uconekt’s products are personal identity devices with multi-factor authentication on certified hardware. These products will protect the user’s personal identity portable devices (smartphones, tablets, and computers). You can find more information on the company’s website www.uconekt.com.