h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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The shade underneath trees during eclipses is pretty incredible
because it becomes apparent that all of those little dapples of light
are actually images, since every one of them becomes a crescent
rather than a circle.
So this idea is for a computer controlled "tree" that would exploit
ability of the pin holes created by the spaces between its leaves
to act as lenses, to create organized visual phenomena in its shade.
||Point of correction: each pinhole IS the equivalent of a
lens. It appears that what you want is to consolidate all
the individual pinhole-lens images, into a single image.
||Well, considering that from a given point under the
tree, each pinhole among the leaves is pointing in a
different direction, so what you would be creating is a
very wide-field view, without much detail. If you
carpeted the ground under the tree with imaging
devices, then you could get multiple pinhole views of
particular objects, and so more detail
||It also sort-of means you will be using the tree to study
things in the sky. I suspect most ordinary telescopes will
give you better results, but, hey, this is the HalfBakery,
and ineffectual notions are welcome.
||- not entirely unlike an insect's compound eye?