Computer modelling of the human eye, the brain of a rat and a robot could revolutionise advances in neuroscience and new technology, says a QUT leading robotics researcher.
Dr Michael Milford from QUT's Science and Engineering Faculty says the new study uses new computer algorithms to enable robots to navigate intelligently, unrestricted by high-density buildings or tunnels.
"This is a very Frankenstein type of project," Dr Milford said.
"It's putting two halves of a thing together because we're taking the eyes of a human and linking them up with the brain of a rat.
"A rodent's spatial memory is strong but has very poor vision while humans can easily recognise where they are because of eyesight," he said.
"We have existing research, software algorithms in robots to model the human and rat brain.
"We'll plug in the two pieces of software together on a robot moving around in an environment and see what happens."
The research has been published in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
Dr Milford said the research would also study how the human brain degrades, in particular how it fails to recognize familiar places.
"The brain's spatial navigation capabilities degrade early in diseases like Alzheimer's," he said.
"So it has relevance as a potential study mechanism for studying mental disease as well."
Dr Milford was awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to support his study.
He is one of Australia's leading experts on developing technology to visually recognise locations and is chief investigator at the QUT-based headquarters of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Robotic Vision.
Dr Milford said place recognition is a key component of navigation but the technology to date is limited.
"Current robotic and personal navigation systems leave much to be desired," he said.
"GPS only works in open outdoor areas, lasers are expensive and cameras are highly sensitive but in contrast, nature has evolved superb navigation systems."
Dr Milford said drivers could miss or take the wrong exit because personal navigation systems didn't work in tunnels because there was no satellite signal.
"That's an example of one of many ways we'd like to create really cool, useful technology," he said.
Dr Milford said he was motivated to create amazing technology through fundamental scientific work.
He said the research project could have benefits for manufacturing, environmental management and aged health.
"We have very sophisticated models of human vision and a rat's brain, which are already state of the art.
"We've got all the ground work there but plugging them altogether is the massive challenge we have.
"I don't know exactly how it's going to work and that's why it's research."
The interdisciplinary research project involves collaborations between QUT and the University of Queensland and other top international institutions including Harvard, Boston and Antwerp universities.
The future fellowship is worth $676,174 over the next five years.
Debra Nowland, QUT media officer (Tue/Wed/Thur), 07 3138 1150 or email@example.com
Debra Nowland | Eurek Alert!
A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues
16.08.2017 | University of Oxford
Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences