Researchers are developing compound lenses which exist out of hundreds of tiny micro lenses. They have the advantage of being much smaller than conventional lenses, while retaining the same field of view and quality of image.
Bräuer told New Scientist that in theory it should be possible to make compound lenses just a few hundred micrometres in thickness. This could make it possible to install a camera into a smart card that could then perform simple image recognition tasks, he says.
The photo quality would be very limited, only 250x250 pixels, but such lenses should be relatively cheap and simple to produce. These micro lenses would be best suited for low quality applications according to Jim Girking from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK, because they are prone to distortion. More details about these bug-eyed lenses at Newscientist