LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES' BELL LABS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES' BELL LABS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Brittle stars. Colour of the brittle star Ophiocoma wendtii during the day (top) and at night. This marine echinoderm changes colour in response to light. It is covered in microscopic light-sensitive calcium carbonite crystals that act as microlenses, forming a compound eye on its surface. A network of nerve fibres beneath the lenses detects light signals, allowing the brittle star to detect and escape from predators. The design of the lenses may be used to improve components of optical networks and computer chips. The lenses were discovered by Joanna Aizenberg and her team at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs, USA.
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