A Bug’s View and a Robot’s Body
This is one project that took vision. The fields of mechanical engineering, neuroscience, computer science, and entomology meet in the development of a new robot that sees the world like an insect would.
And that is a good thing, because insects have unique visual advantages used to see and track prey.
The research combines best traits of humans and insects to produce a robot capable of tracking down an object. Researchers from University of Adelaide have published their findings in Journal of The Royal Society Interface.
“Detecting and tracking small objects against complex backgrounds is a highly challenging task,” says the lead author of the paper, Mechanical Engineering PhD student Zahra Bagheri.
Robot engineers seek to create a mechanical kind of Frankenstein that has all the qualities necessary to negotiate a complex environment. Great vision, coordination and flexibility are all desired traits in creating any near-living entitiy.
This team of scientists uses an algorithim that focuses more on the background than the vision itself, one that’s been tested in virtual reality technology. This active vision is biologically inspired through the study of how insects find and track their prey and move through their environment.
“This type of performance can allow for real-time applications using quite simple processors,” says Dr Wiederman, who is leading the project, and who developed the original motion sensing mechanism after recording the responses of neurons in the dragonfly brain.