Artificial bee eye gives insight into insects' visual world

Aug 06, 2010
Artificial bee eye gives insight into insects' visual world

Despite their tiny brains, bees have remarkable navigation capabilities based on their vision. Now scientists have recreated a light-weight imaging system mimicking a honeybee's field of view, which could change the way we build mobile robots and small flying vehicles.

New research published today, Friday, 6 August, in IOP Publishing's Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, describes how the researchers from the Center of Excellence 'Cognitive Interaction Technology' at Bielefeld University, Germany, have built an artificial bee eye, complete with fully functional camera, to shed light on the insects' complex sensing, processing and navigational skills.

Consisting of a light-weight mirror-lens combination attached to a USB video camera, the artificial eye manages to achieve a field of vision comparable to that of a bee. In combining a curved reflective surface that is built into acrylic glass with lenses covering the frontal field, the bee eye camera has allowed the researchers to take unique images showing the world from an insect's viewpoint.

In the future, the researchers hope to include UV to fully reflect a bee's colour vision, which is important to honeybees for flower recognition and discrimination and also polarisation vision, which use for orientation. They also hope to incorporate models of the subsequent neural processing stages.

As the researchers write, "Despite the discussed limitations of our model of the spatial resolution of the honeybees compound eyes, we are confident that it is useful for many purposes, e.g. for the simulation of bee-like agents in virtual environments and, in combination with presented , for testing bee-inspired visual navigation strategies on mobile robots."

Explore further: Researchers use 3D printers to create custom medical implants

More information: "Mimicking Honeybee Eyes with a 280 FOV Catadioptric Imaging System" (W Sturzl et al 2010 Bioinspir. Biomim. 5 036002) stacks.iop.org/1748-3190/5/036002

Related Stories

Bumble bee visits a fritillary

Jun 25, 2010

Bumble bees can see which fritillary has the most nectar. Pollination by the bees protects plants against moulds.

Bees show off the perfect landing

Dec 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Honey bees undergo a sudden transition from speeding aircraft to hovering helicopter as they perform the delicate art of landing on a flower.

A superorganism in trouble

May 23, 2008

In a time of global warming and catastrophic failure of bee colonies around the world, the new book "The Buzz about Bees" by Juergen Tautz is a timely call for an appreciation of the intricacy of the sociophysiological and ...

New Insight Into How Bees See

Jan 23, 2009

New research from Monash University bee researcher Adrian Dyer could lead to improved artificial intelligence systems and computer programs for facial recognition.

Researchers create all seeing 'eye'

Jan 05, 2009

The remarkable ability of insects to look in all directions at once has been emulated by a team of international scientists who have built an artificial 'eye' with an unobstructed all-round view.

Paper-Thin Compound-Eye Camera

Jul 09, 2004

The focal length of a lens means that a camera has to have a certain thickness - or so we might think. Insect eyes show that this need not be the case: A camera chip based on the compound-eye principle can be used for person ...

Recommended for you

For secure software: X-rays instead of passport control

20 hours ago

Trust is good, control is better. This also applies to the security of computer programs. Instead of trusting "identification documents" in the form of certificates, JOANA, the new software analysis tool, examines the source ...

Razor-sharp TV pictures

22 hours ago

The future of movie, sports and concert broadcasting lies in 4K definition, which will bring cinema quality TV viewing into people's homes. 4K Ultra HD has four times as many pixels as today's Full HD. And ...

Michigan team finds security flaws in traffic lights

23 hours ago

What if attackers could manipulate traffic lights so that accidents would happen with mayhem as the result? That is a question many would rather put off for another day but authorities feeling responsible ...

User comments : 0