Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Robot eyes will benefit from insect vision

11.06.2015

The way insects see and track their prey is being applied to a new robot under development at the University of Adelaide, in the hopes of improving robot visual systems.

The project - which crosses the boundaries of neuroscience, mechanical engineering and computer science - builds on years of research into insect vision at the University.


University of Adelaide Ph.D. student Zahra Bagheri and supervisor Professor Benjamin Cazzolato (School of Mechanical Engineering) with the robot under development. The robot features a vision system using algorithms based on insect vision.

Credit: The University of Adelaide

In a new paper published today in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface, researchers describe how the learnings from both insects and humans can be applied in a model virtual reality simulation, enabling an artificial intelligence system to 'pursue' an object.

"Detecting and tracking small objects against complex backgrounds is a highly challenging task," says the lead author of the paper, Mechanical Engineering PhD student Zahra Bagheri.

"Consider a cricket or baseball player trying to take a match-winning catch in the outfield. They have seconds or less to spot the ball, track it and predict its path as it comes down against the brightly coloured backdrop of excited fans in the crowd - all while running or even diving towards the point where they predict it will fall!

"Robotics engineers still dream of providing robots with the combination of sharp eyes, quick reflexes and flexible muscles that allow a budding champion to master this skill," she says.

Research conducted in the lab of University of Adelaide neuroscientist Dr Steven Wiederman (School of Medical Sciences) has shown that flying insects, such as dragonflies, show remarkable visually guided behaviour. This includes chasing mates or prey, even in the presence of distractions, like swarms of insects.

"They perform this task despite their low visual acuity and a tiny brain, around the size of a grain of rice. The dragonfly chases prey at speeds up to 60 km/h, capturing them with a success rate over 97%," Ms Bagheri says.

The team of engineers and neuroscientists has developed an unusual algorithm to help emulate this visual tracking. "Instead of just trying to keep the target perfectly centred on its field of view, our system locks on to the background and lets the target move against it," Ms Bagheri says. "This reduces distractions from the background and gives time for underlying brain-like motion processing to work. It then makes small movements of its gaze and rotates towards the target to keep the target roughly frontal."

This bio-inspired "active vision" system has been tested in virtual reality worlds composed of various natural scenes. The Adelaide team has found that it performs just as robustly as the state-of-the-art engineering target tracking algorithms, while running up to 20 times faster.

"This type of performance can allow for real-time applications using quite simple processors," says Dr Wiederman, who is leading the project, and who developed the original motion sensing mechanism after recording the responses of neurons in the dragonfly brain.

"We are currently transferring the algorithm to a hardware platform, a bio-inspired, autonomous robot."

###

Media Contacts:

Zahra Bagheri
PhD student
School of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Adelaide
zahra.bagheri@adelaide.edu.au

Dr Steven Wiederman
ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher
School of Medical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 8067
steven.wiederman@adelaide.edu.au

Dr. Steven Wiederman | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New silicon structure opens the gate to quantum computers
12.12.2017 | Princeton University

nachricht PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems
11.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>