Researchers replicate ‘all seeing eye’ of insects

January 5th, 2009 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 5 (IANS) Inspired by the ‘all seeing eyes’ of insects, scientists have built an artificial one with an unobstructed all-round view. It has potential uses for guiding robot vehicles and aircraft, providing low-cost panoramic security surveillance and novel lighting systems.

The ‘eye’, designed by a team from The Vision Centre (TVC), is a tool to emulate exactly what insects see as they zip around the landscape, as part of a larger project to understand how they navigate, find food, escape predators and especially, how insects like bees find their way home.

“Panoramic vision means you have far more information with which to monitor and control your own movement in the world. Insects, in some ways, do this better than we do because they can see all round them at once,” explained Jochen Zeil of TVC and the Australian National University (ANU).

“Many sorts of wide-angle and panoramic devices have been designed before, but this one gives a wider field of view without obstruction, while being rugged and light-weight,” Zeil said, according to a TVC release.

The ‘eye’ is a beautifully-machined Perspex globe with an embedded silvered cone, which allows a 360-degree all-round view, uninterrupted by the brackets used to support mirrors in similar devices. It sits on a standard video camera.

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