Shrimps' Eyes Are Biomimetic Solutions to Better DVD Players

mantis shrimp eyes photo

Photo via Stephen Childs via Flickr CC

Mantis shrimp - giant shrimp living on Australia's Great Barrier Reef - are being eyeballed (har har) as holding solutions to creating a higher quality DVD player, and it's all because they have the most complex set of eyes in the animal kingdom. That complexity could be translated into a DVD player that can handle a whole lot more optical information than anything currently produced. Reuters reports, "[Mantis shrimp] can see in 12 primary colors, four times as many as humans, and can also detect different kinds of light polarization -- the direction of oscillation in light waves. Now a team at the University of Bristol have shown how the shrimps do it, using remarkable light-sensitive cells that rotate the plane of polarization in light as it travels through the eye."

Current DVD players can only handle this kind of light polarization for one color, rather than the whole visible light spectrum. By using liquid crystals, scientists think the shrimp's eye system can be mimicked in a lab, which would lead to super DVD players.

Why we would actually need these super DVD players isn't clear. There's only so much the human eye can pick up, so unless it leads to more energy efficient players that don't sacrifice visual quality, then we're fairly ho-hum about the research.

Still, it presents yet another reason why the Great Barrier Reef needs to be protected - there's some awfully fancy shrimp down there.

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