History with CrunchGear! For a long time, the light-sensitive part of a camera has been flat. This is for two main reasons. First, photography originally used glass plates and prints involved a gelatin which would coalesce on anything but a flat surface. This lasted until the digital age, when the new obstacle became that the light-sensitive chips are generally manufactured like other chips: flat. As a result, because of how lenses work, you have vignetting on the corners of the exposure and less sharpness as well, since the plane of focus actually follows a curve and the exposed surface runs tangent to that curve, ideally.
Well, now the sensor can follow that curve, thanks to the work of a couple researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois. Instead of putting the light-sensitive components on a brittle surface, each little photoreceptor is on its own tiny square, held together in a mesh by the wires that carry the information away. Theoretically, this could morph to any shape within reason (it gets complicated for getting things in focus), allowing it to be used in areas (like the eye) where a flat surface would be disruptive or ineffective.