Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research finds people and pigeons see eye to eye

22.02.2007
Pigeons and humans use similar visual cues to identify objects, a finding that could have promising implications in the development of novel technologies, according to new research conducted by a University of New Hampshire professor.

Brett Gibson, an assistant professor of psychology who studies animal behavior, details his latest research in the journal article, “Non-accidental properties underlie shape recognition in mammalian and non-mammalian vision,” published today in Current Biology. Gibson and his colleagues found that humans and pigeons, which have different visual systems, have evolved to use similar techniques and information to recognize objects.

“Understanding how avian visual systems solve problems that require considerable computational prowess may lead to future technological advances, such as small visual prosthetics for the visually impaired, in the same way that understanding visual processing in honeybees has led to the development of flying robots and unmanned helicopters,” the researchers say.

So a software engineer who wants to design a program to help a robot recognize objects can get a leg up from evolution, which has been developing “programs” for object recognition in animals long before humans ever thought of doing such things, Gibson says. “To the extent that we can learn how different animals recognize objects and whether they are doing the same things or different things based on their environments may really help us in designing our own system of object recognition.”

... more about:
»Eye »Gibson »battery »pigeons

Gibson and his colleagues from the University of Iowa (Olga Lazareva and Edward Wasserman), the University of Montreal (Frédéric Gosselin), and the University of Glasgow (Philippe Schyns) found that pigeons, like humans, primarily rely on corners (coterminations) of an object in order to recognize it instead of relying on other features such as shading and color.

For example, a person could easily identify a AA battery from the side profile. But, let’s say the person could see the same battery only from the bottom with the negative terminal. From this perspective, the only visible outline would be a circle; from the bottom, the corners of the battery now are not visible and information about the corners cannot be seen.

“The task of recognizing the object becomes much more difficult. For most people, it would take them a bit longer to recognize the image as a battery,” Gibson says.

The researchers employed a new procedure, which Gosselin and Schyns developed, called Bubbles, to determine what features humans and pigeons were using to recognize objects. Three pigeons were trained to recognize four objects: an arch, a barrel, a brick, and a wedge. The researchers then partially revealed different parts of the object pictures. They then conducted the same experiment with six people.

Not only did both the pigeons and people recognize the four objects based mostly on corners, but they used these properties more than the shading information contained in the images. More notably, the pigeons and people used corner information more than a computer programmed to extract the most useful information for recognizing the object pictures, which suggests that the pigeons and people were using comparable information.

“When members of different species respond similarly to the same visual information, we gain confidence in the prominence of this information, irrespective of cultural or genetic influences. Birds represent an important group to compare with mammals, the other major class of warm-blooded, highly mobile, visually oriented animals,” the researchers say.

“Because of the unique demands of flight, for the last 200 million years birds have been under strong evolutionary pressures to keep their overall size to a minimum. Although a very large portion of the avian central nervous system is devoted to visual processing, the bird brain is still just a fraction of the size of our own. It is this extraordinary mixture of visual competence and small size that makes the study of birds critical to our understanding of the general mechanisms of visual cognition,” they say.

In addition to his research on vision, Gibson has done extensive research involving navigation and memory in birds. He is currently investigating how the Clark’s nutcracker uses different types of spatial information to return to hidden stores of food during winter. More information: www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2006/october/lw10bird.cfm?type=n.

Lori Wright | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2006/october/lw10bird.cfm?type=n

Further reports about: Eye Gibson battery pigeons

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>