A pair of recent optics stories by me:
Getting new medical tests out into the field where they are needed is getting easier in some scenarios – tying diagnostic methods into smart phones and crowd-sourcing the results is one approach – but it usually involves developing novel optics systems able to operate in unusual situations. A team at KTH in Stockholm have done something slightly different, and tweaked a standard DVD drive to allow it to image blood cells with its standard laser. It does need an extra photodiode fitted and the blood samples have to be held in a custom-made DVD-like disk, but in principle this could make HIV testing a practical proposition in environments where lab work is out of the question. I asked them about it for Optics.org.
And: a camera lens based on the designs employed by arthropods is certainly a striking looking thing.