Researchers discover totally new mechanism for processing color information
New research into the way that honeybees see colour could pave the way for more accurate cameras in phones, drones and robots.
Identifying colour in complex outdoor environments is extremely difficult because the colour of light is continuously changing.
Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, looked to see how honeybees solve this problem and discovered a totally new mechanism for processing colour information.
The results of the work by academics at RMIT University, Monash University, University of Melbourne and Deakin University were published today in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
The project, supported by an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant, was coordinated by Associate Professor Adrian Dyer at RMIT, who has been working with Professor Marcello Rosa at Monash University and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function to solve this classic problem of how colour vision works.
Dyer said: "For a digital system like a camera or a robot the colour of objects often changes. Currently this problem is dealt with by assuming the world is, on average, grey.
"This means it's difficult to identify the true colour of ripe fruit or mineral rich sands, limiting outdoor colour imaging solutions by drones, for example."
Bees have three extra eyes (ocelli) on the top of their head that look directly at the sky, and lead author Dr Jair Garcia (RMIT) and a multidisciplinary team discovered that the ocelli contain two colour receptors that are perfectly tuned for sensing the colour of ambient light.
Bees also have two main compound eyes that directly sense flower colours from the environment.
Garcia said: "Physics suggests the ocelli sensing of the colour of light could allow a brain to discount the naturally coloured illumination which would otherwise confuse colour perception.
"But for this to be true the information from the ocelli would have to be integrated with colours seen by the compound eyes."
To test if this happened, Dr Yu-Shan Hung (University of Melbourne) mapped the neural tracings from ocelli and showed neural projection did indeed feed to the key colour processing areas of the bee brain.
Professor Andrew Greentree from the ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at RMIT said: "It is rare that physics, biology, neuro-anatomy and ecology all fit together, but here we have it."
The system closely predicts previously observed behaviour of bees foraging in complex environments and provides a new solution for illuminations as diverse as natural forest light, sunlight, or shade.
Dyer said: "We're using bio-inspired solutions from nature to tackle key problems in visual perception. This discovery on colour constancy can be implemented into imaging systems to enable accurate colour interpretation."
Professor John Endler (Deakin University) said: "The discover provides a superb solution to a classic problem and makes colour constancy computationally inexpensive."
Rosa said: "The strength of this study lies in the combination of modelling, behavioural analysis and neuro-anatomy. It shows how modern, interdisciplinary neuroscience can point to an elegant solution to classical problems in vision."
For interviews, images and high-res video contact:
RMIT University: David Glanz, +61 3 9925 2807 or + 61 438 547 723 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monash University: Ruth Schneider, +61 3 9902 0892 or email@example.com.
Deakin University: Elise Snashall-Woodhams, +61 3 9246 8593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adrian Dyer | EurekAlert!
NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses