Depth information from an image can greatly increase the work efficiency when observing or inspecting objects, because the size, distance, and relative locations can be estimated. Various stereo imaging methods are being used to find depth information in a wide range of application fields, typically by placing multiple optical systems side-by-side to create multiple shifted images. In this study, we develop a miniature stereo image generating device, which can augment an existing single optical system (i.e., a two-dimensional images capturer) with three-dimensional capability. Developed with MEMS technology, the device consists of a single translating aperture, which shifts laterally between two positions (up to 100 μm apart demonstrated) by means of electrostatic comb actuators. Attached at the objective end of conventional (i.e., nonstereo) optical systems, this stereo converter with an aperture 900 μm in diameter is shown to successfully generate slightly different viewing angles, providing stereo images. Being miniaturized, this device is suitable for microscopic or endoscopic applications, where the size of the system is limited or axial depth of focus is relatively large.

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