The Future Creation Laboratory of Olympus Corp. has developed a design of its proprietary axisymmetric free-form-surface lens and actually prototyped the lens.
The new lens allows the shooting and projection with the horizontal view angle of 360°. The company has also prototyped a projector and a camera (a combination with a CCD image sensor) equipped with this lens.
The design of the axisymmetric free-form-surface lens was developed based on the principle of a free-form-surface prism (a prism having a lens effect generated by free-form lens surfaces without rotational symmetry) developed by Olympus in 2004.
According to the company, the relationship between the optical characteristics of the lens and the curves that define the lens surface has been greatly improved in efforts to achieve the lens design providing a high degree of freedom that cannot be defined by the existing design methods for spherical/aspherical lenses.
The prototyped axisymmetric free-form-surface lens is made of resin. It has a top-like shape with a diameter of about 60 mm. The expected applications are security cameras, projectors for use in dome-shaped pavilions and so on.