Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Going the distance: Brain cells for 3D vision discovered

28.06.2019

Neurons in insect brains that compute 3D distance and direction found

In stunning images captured under the microscope for the first time, the neurons were found in praying mantises. The work is published in Nature Communications today.


This is a 3D neuron captured under a microscope.

Credit: Newcastle University, UK

In a specially-designed insect cinema, the mantises were fitted with 3D glasses and shown 3D movies of simulated bugs while their brain activity was monitored. When the image of the bug came into striking range for a predatory attack, scientist Dr Ronny Rosner was able to record the activity of individual neurons.

Dr Rosner, Research Associate in the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, is lead author of the paper. He said: "This helps us answer how insects achieve surprisingly complex behaviour with such tiny brains and understanding this can help us develop simpler algorithms to develop better robot and machine vision."

... more about:
»3D »BRAIN »machine vision »nerve cell »neurons

The "3D neurons"

Praying mantises use 3D perception, scientifically known as stereopsis, for hunting. By using the disparity between the two retinas they are able to compute distances and trigger a strike of their forelegs when prey is within reach.

The neurons recorded were stained, revealing their shape which allowed the team to identify four classes of neuron likely to be involved in mantis stereopsis.

The images captured using a powerful microscope show the dendritic tree of a nerve cell - where the nerve cell receives inputs from the rest of the brain - believed to enable this behaviour.

Dr Rosner explains: "Despite their tiny size, mantis brains contain a surprising number of neurons which seem specialised for 3D vision. This suggests that mantis depth perception is more complex than we thought. And while these neurons compute distance, we still don't know how exactly.

"Even so, as theirs are so much smaller than our own brains, we hope mantises can help us develop simpler algorithms for machine vision."

The wider research programme which is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is led by Professor Jenny Read, professor of Vision Science at Newcastle University.

She says: "In some ways, the properties in the mantises are similar to what we see in the visual cortex of primates. When we see two very different species have independently evolved similar solutions like this, we know this must be a really good way of solving 3D vision.

"But we've also found some feedback loops within the 3D vision circuit which haven't previously been reported in vertebrates. Our 3D vision may well include similar feedback loops, but they are much easier to identify in a less complex insect brain and this provides us with new avenues to explore."

It's the first time that anyone has identified specific neuron types in the brain of an invertebrate which are tuned to locations in 3D space.

The Newcastle team intend to further develop their research to better understand the computation of the relatively simple brain of the praying mantis with the aim of developing simpler algorithms for machine and robot vision.

###

Reference: A neuronal correlate of insect stereopsis. Ronny Rosner, Joss von Hadeln, Ghaith Tarawneh, Jenny C.A. Read. Nature Communications. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10721-z

Media Contact

Karen Bidewell
karen.bidewell@ncl.ac.uk
44-019-120-86972

 @UniofNewcastle

http://www.ncl.ac.uk 

Karen Bidewell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10721-z

Further reports about: 3D BRAIN machine vision nerve cell neurons

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Structual color barcode micromotors for multiplex biosensing
21.01.2020 | Science China Press

nachricht Cyanobacteria in water and on land identified as source of methane
21.01.2020 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

Im Focus: Miniature double glazing: Material developed which is heat-insulating and heat-conducting at the same time

Styrofoam or copper - both materials have very different properties with regard to their ability to conduct heat. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz and the University of Bayreuth have now jointly developed and characterized a novel, extremely thin and transparent material that has different thermal conduction properties depending on the direction. While it can conduct heat extremely well in one direction, it shows good thermal insulation in the other direction.

Thermal insulation and thermal conduction play a crucial role in our everyday lives - from computer processors, where it is important to dissipate heat as...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer IAF establishes an application laboratory for quantum sensors

In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.

The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...

Im Focus: How Cells Assemble Their Skeleton

Researchers study the formation of microtubules

Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new look at 'strange metals'

21.01.2020 | Materials Sciences

Body's natural signal carriers can help melanoma spread

21.01.2020 | Health and Medicine

Structual color barcode micromotors for multiplex biosensing

21.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>