German Researchers 3D Print Micro Camera

3D Printing Expert

Posted on March 14 2017

Researchers have used the natural vision of the eagle as the inspiration for their latest innovation, the 3D printed micro camera technology. This design combines for 3D printed lenses that have different focal lengths and are printed onto a single image sensor. This new technology could lead to insect-sized surveillance devices, new medical procedures, and micro-robots.



Harald Giessen and his colleagues from the University of Stuttgart, Germany are responsible for the design and creation of this camera technology. Not only does this lens benefit from having an extremely sharp focus, but it also has a wider peripheral view which is a trait of eagles. Femtosecond laser writing use to be the go-to technique that engineers used to print miniature lenses like the one Herald and his team were working to develop, which allowed 3D printing to occur directly onto an image-sensing chip. In order to create a sharper image, Harald and his team used the aforementioned process to print for lenses instead of just one. The lenses are made in variations ranging from wide to narrow and from high to low resolution.

3D Printed Camera Lens

The circular photos are made using software which stitches together the captured images. Interestingly enough, the entire system which produces these images measures under 300 micrometers square. Giessen accredited the success of the process to having the ability to utilize 3D printing. Once this process was complete researchers decided to go even smaller. Attempting to print a lens array on the smallest available sensors. These sensors measure about 0.04 SQ inches (1 square millimeter). They also hope to see the lenses covering more of the surface of the sensor. However, high-performance lenses require us of more than one type of plastic. The problem is that it’s not possible to 3D print lenses that small using more than one material.


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