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Innovation

Scientists create artificial bee eye for potential robot, flying vehicle use

Bees are known to have great vision and now scientists have created a system that mimics what a honeybee sees. The system could be applied to flying vehicles like drones and robots.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Bees are known to have great vision and now scientists have created a system that mimics what a honeybee sees. The system could be applied to flying vehicles like drones and robots.

The light-weight imaging system, detailed in the Bioinspiration & Biometrics journal, features an artificial bee eye with a camera that aims to recreate an insect's processing and navigation skills. Researchers at Bielefeld University in Germany created the eyes.

According to the article, the artificial eye consists of a lightweight mirror lens attached to a USB video camera. The bee eye camera uses a curved reflective surface built into acrylic glass with lenses covering the frontal field to replicate an insect's view. Here's a look at some of the images captured:

In the future, researchers plan to include UV to recreate a bee's color vision, which is used by honeybees to recognize flowers.

The paper, which requires registration and is available for free for 30 days, is worth a read. From the abstract:

We present a small single camera imaging system that provides a continuous 280 degree field of view (FOV) inspired by the large FOV of insect eyes. This is achieved by combining a curved reflective surface that is machined into acrylic glass with lenses covering the frontal field that otherwise would have been obstructed by the mirror. Based on the work of Seidl (1982 PhD Thesis Technische Hochschule Darmstadt), we describe an extension of the ‘bee eye optics simulation’ (BEOS) model by Giger (1996 PhD Thesis Australian National University) to the full FOV which enables us to remap camera images according to the spatial resolution of honeybee eyes. This model is also useful for simulating the visual input of a bee-like agent in a virtual environment. The imaging system in combination with our bee eye model can serve as a tool for assessing the visual world from a bee’s perspective which is particularly helpful for experimental setups. It is also well suited for mobile robots, in particular on flying vehicles that need light-weight sensors.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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