Research looking at 3-D perception in insects has interesting scientific applications ... but oh the photos.
What do you do if you're a researcher interested in studying 3-D vision in invertebrates? Make miniature glasses and a specially-designed insect cinema, of course. Which is exactly what a team from Newcastle University, UK have done. And in doing so, they proved that mantises use 3-D vision – providing a new model to improve visual perception in robots.
The mantises were fitted with wee spectacles attached with beeswax and were shown short videos of simulated bugs moving around a computer screen. In 2-D, the insects had little interest, but when the clips were shown in 3-D, the mantises struck out showing that they use 3-D vision.
"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," says study leader, Jenny Read, Professor of Vision Science.
"Better understanding of their simpler processing systems helps us understand how 3-D vision evolved, and could lead to possible new algorithms for 3-D depth perception in computers," she adds.
To read more about the research, head over to Scientific Reports where the work was published.