Mechanical diaphragms for optical devices were not invented yesterday, but all of them have one fundamental feature – they are controlled from the outside. Therefore, if we want to create a man-made “eye” that must react to light just like the real one, we’ll have to equip it with an illumination sensor and a controller. It is cumbersome and inconvenient, but a team of Finnish and Polish scientists proposed an alternative.
The new development is a special version of the elastomer, sensitive to light – under its influence the substance begins to expand. Scientists have created a small lens with a hole in the middle that simulates the behavior of the human pupil. If you illuminate it, the elastomer expansion mechanically reduces the size of the hole and vice versa – the less light, the wider the “pupil”.
The principle is simple and the scientists are not proud of this, but the fact that their development does not require either energy sources or auxiliary mechanisms. The polymer substance functions passively, its behavior depends only on the availability of light sources. This can be the basis for artificial pupils, eye implants to replace or treat damaged eyes.
Currently, scientists focus on calibration, they want to identify the limits of the sensitivity of the elastomer and “teach” it to respond to the smallest changes in the brightness of light. To create even more accurate and reliable devices.