Scientists are conducting research on praying mantises in order to gain more insight into how 3-D vision works. The study was conducted by researchers from United Kingdoms with the purpose of use the data for providing robot models with an improved visual perception. The paper was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Praying mantises are famous for being one of the most efficient predators among insects and this is thanks to the fact that they use stereopsis, which is a 3-D type of vision. These invertebrates are provided with compound eyes which enable them both to see their bray very clearly at a close range and to cover a large field of vision.
The team led by Jenny Read from Newcastle University conducted the experiment using 3-D glasses. They attached it to the mantises using beeswax. The researchers used green and blue lens instead of blue and red, as the conventional design of 3-D glasses, because mantises are unable to perceive the color red properly. Afterwards the insects were exposed to short video clips which depicted other bugs moving around. Dr. Read remarked:
Despite their minute brains, mantises are sophisticated visual hunters which can capture prey with terrifying efficiency. We can learn a lot by studying how they perceive the world.”
When video clips were in 2-D the mantises did not try to catch the bugs, but when they were presented in 3-D the invertebrates tried to attack them. From this the scientists drew the conclusion that these insects use 3-D vision when they attack their prey.
Co-author of the study Dr. Vivek Nityananda remarked that the findings of the study showed how stereopsis functions in mantises and the results can be used in order to provide other insects with virtual 3D stimuli. The scientists could now try to develop innovative methods for applying 3-D technologies on computers and robots.
In addition the research team will further study the algorithms of depth perception in insects so as to gain more knowledge of how human vision evolved.
Another researcher involved in the study, Dr. Ghaith Tarawneh, explained that there are numerous ways of applying 3-D vision. Since robots rely on the environment in order to get information they should among other things need to understand the environment using a visual input so as to move towards certain goals.
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