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 software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Seeing the next dimension of computer chips
11.10.2017 | Osaka University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>