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Researchers at MIT and the University of Massachusetts Lowell have developed a wide-angle metalens capable of producing 180° panoramic images. The design could be adapted for a wide range of applications, such as in smartphones and laptops, medical imaging devices, virtual reality glasses, and wearable electronics.
The lens is a single, flat, millimeter-thin piece of glass, covered on one side with miniscule structures that precisely scatter incoming light to produce panoramic images, just as a conventional curved, multielement fisheye lens assembly would. The lens works in the infrared part of the spectrum, though the researchers say that the design could be modified to also capture images in the visible spectrum.