Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nocturnal vision of insects inspires automakers to develop improved night cameras

08.01.2010
The ability of animals to see in the dark has led biology professor Eric Warrant at Lund University in Sweden to an exciting collaboration with the automaker Toyota.

The collaborative project aims to develop a new type of colour camera that in the future will help people drive cars more safely when it's dark outside. The mathematics researcher Henrik Malm from Lund University has directed the mathematical work.

A few years ago, when the automaker Toyota wanted to find new ways to develop certain safety features in their car models, they started to investigate the field of bio-mimetics, or bio-inspiration, as it is also called. Bio-inspiration is about constructing technological solutions using Nature as a model, that is, imitating solutions that Nature has itself invented with the help of the laws of evolution. This is how Toyota came into contact with Professor Eric Warrant's research on nocturnally active insects.

"For instance, there's a lot to be learned from nocturnally active dung beetles that live in cow dung," says Eric Warrant.

Eric Warrant and his colleagues at the Department of Biology, Lund University, are pursuing world-leading vision research. For some 25 years, Eric Warrant has been interested in the function of eyes in various animal species, especially in terms of seeing in the dark. Among other species, he has studied nocturnally active beetles, bees, and moths.

Beetles, bees, and moths have compound eyes with multiple lenses that work together to create a single image in the animal's eye. The light-sensitive cells in the retinas of these eyes have a capacity to exploit light even in situations where the light is weak. When night falls, the light-sensitive cells start to cooperate in a way that renders the function of the retina flexible. For example, at any given moment a certain part of the retina may register the details of a flower while other parts of the same retina may simultaneously monitor the terrain for any movements in the darkness.

Together with mathematicians Henrik Malm and Magnus Oskarsson from Lund University and engineers from Toyota, Eric Warrant has now converted the remarkable night vision of insects into mathematical algorithms that serve as a basis for digital image creation in an entirely new type of night camera.

"The algorithms we devised imitate the eye's method for enhancing visual perception in dim light," says Henrik Malm, who directed the mathematical work.

The night colour camera is now being tested at Toyota's developmental facility in Brussels. The Lund researchers' projects and their collaboration with Toyota is featured in the next issue of the international journal New Scientist.

For more information, please contact:
Eric Warrant, professor at the Department of Biology, Lund University
Eric.Warrant@cob.lu.se, tel +61 (0)429 470693 (can be reached 08.00-12.00 noon Central European Time)
Henrik Malm, mathematics researcher, Lund University
Henrik.Malm@cob.lu.se, tel +46 (0)46-2229340, cell +46 (0)70-4567673
Magnus Oskarsson, senior lecturer in mathematics, Lund University
Magnus.Oskarsson@math.lth.se, tel +46 (0)46-2228538
Information officer Lena Björk Blixt; Lena.Bjork_Blixt@kanslin.lu.se;
+46 46 222 71 86

Lena Björk Blixt | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht Improvement of the operating range and increasing of the reliability of integrated circuits
09.11.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

nachricht New algorithm for optimized stability of planar-rod objects
11.08.2016 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>