Flies are fast-reacting creatures and can sense movement quickly. Researchers have now used flies as their inspiration by developing an artificial insect inspired compound eye that can sense a moving a moving object and its trajectory with an astonishing speed.
The development can be used with a camera for applications like the creation of 3D location systems for robots, self-driving cars and unmanned aerial vehicles. "Imitating the vision system of insects has led us to believe that they might detect the trajectory of an object based on the light intensity coming from that object rather than using precise images like human vision," said Le Song, a member of the research team from Tianjin University in China. "This motion-detection method requires less information, allowing the insect to quickly react to a threat."
The units of a compound eye act as a visual receptor are repeated hundreds to a thousand times—these units are called ‘ommatodia’.
"This uniform light receiving ability of our bio-inspired compound eye is more similar to biological compound eyes and better imitates the biological mechanism than previous attempts at replicating a compound eye," explained Song.
Results of the study’s findings were seen in The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Letters and exlapisn how researchers measured 3D trajectory by adding grids to each eyelet that can help pinpoint location before placing LED light sources at known points followed by an algorithm.
"This design allowed us to prove that the compound eye could identify an object's location based on its brightness instead of a complex image process," said Song. "This highly sensitive mechanism suits the brain processing ability of insects very well and helps them avoid predators."
Source: The Optical Society