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Studying insect eyes and brains could lead to smarter drones

Studying insect eyes and brains could lead to smarter drones

Image: The compound eyes of the dragonfly.  Image credit: Max Pixel (Public domain).

Associate Professor Karin Nordstrom, based at The Flinders University of South Australia, has been awarded a new ARC Future Fellowship to investigate the neural and behavioural mechanisms that allow insects to efficiently detect moving targets in visual clutter.

Despite being equipped with small brains and low-resolution eyes, insects seem to be very effective at detecting prey and members of their own species, against a moving background. By using a unique combination of quantitative behaviour, neurophysiology, pharmacological intervention and biomimetic modelling, this research project will generate fundamental knowledge about how they achieve this task.

An outcome that is expected to flow from an increased understanding of neural mechanisms underlying the sensory selectivity of insects is the development of new biomimetic algorithms that will increase the performance of drones and other unmanned vehicles. The project will also build new interdisciplinary collaborations that span neuroscience, animal behavioural science, and computer science.

 

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