‘Bee-vi­sion’ could change way drones per­ceive the world

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

MEL­BOURNE, Aus­tralia — The way the com­mon bee ob­serves col­ors could rev­o­lu­tion­ize the way ro­bots and drones see the world, an Aus­tralian study pub­lished on Tues­day has found.

A hu­man’s abil­ity to see color is heav­ily af­fected by chang­ing light around them, but bees are able to see the same color by us­ing three eyes on top of their head as well as their two main eyes.

Adrian Dyer, the lead au­thor of a study into bee’s vi­sion pub­lished by the Royal Mel­bourne In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Uni­ver­sity, said that the three eyes on top of a bee’s head sam­ple the light above them to de­tect the con­di­tions.

“It means their brain knows what kind of light­ing con­di­tions they are in and then, when they are look­ing di­rectly at a flower, they can say, ‘Ah, it’s a blue-sky day, so the cor­rect color should ap­pear like this, or if it’s a cloudy day it should ap­pear like some­thing else,” Dyer told Aus­tralian me­dia on Tues­day.

Dyer said the dis­cov­ery of how the three eyes work could solve the long-run­ning prob­lem of how to ad­vance the tech­nol­ogy that al­lows cam­eras, ro­bots and drones to see the world.

“This is a very big prob­lem for ma­chine vi­sion — how to make re­li­able de­ci­sions when the color of the light changes,” Dyer said.

By an­a­lyz­ing the process, re­searchers iden­ti­fied the math­e­mat­i­cal for­mula used by a bee to process in­for­ma­tion gath­ered by the three eyes, in­for­ma­tion which can be pro­grammed into a com­puter.

They be­lieve that drones with “bee-vi­sion” could have many prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, such as mon­i­tor­ing veg­e­ta­tion for ripeness and in­spect­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

“These ideas have been around for a while, but the prob­lem has been how to judge color ac­cu­rately,” Dyer said.

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