Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Praying mantis peepers

Neuroscientist Jenny Read of Newcastle University is heading a project to understand 3D vision in the praying mantis, the only invertebrate known to have this ability. The study will compare the insect's sight with that of humans, with a goal of replicating their ability in digital systems. Early experiments involved using beeswax to attach a pair of 3D glasses to the mantis (IMAGE ABOVE, VIDEO HERE) and observing how it follows computer-generated images of moving targets. Read explains, “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.”

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