Jumping Spiders And Machine Vision

Jumping spiders have been under study by Japanese researchers, who hope to get tips from Nature on how to structure the visual sensors of robots to determine depth in a field of view.


(Jumping spiders use green light)

Most jumping spiders have four sets of eyes. The key to their athletic prowess appears to be the main eyes in the centre. In the 1980s, studies showed that the retina of these central eyes are very unusual - having four layers of photoreceptor cells instead of the normal single layer.

The Japanese scientists knew that the spiders were not using 'binocular vision' to measure distance...

The spiders were also not using 'lens accommodation' - thickening or thinning of their lenses...

[Professor Akihisa] Terakita's team examined a mechanism known as 'depth defocus', where the depth (or distance to an object) is determined by measuring the fuzziness of its image... Terakita thinks that the spiders are in some way measuring the fuzziness of the image in the nearer layer and using that to judge distance by depth defocus.

Readers should be able to think of multiple-eyed robots that have exceptional 3D machine vision. Consider, for example, the Tachikoma robots from Ghost in the Shell.


(Tachikoma robot from Ghost in the Shell)

Consider also the Sentinel robots in the Matrix movies; they have excellent 3D vision, supplied (apparently) by multiple eyes.


(Duct-diving Sentinel robots from The Matrix)

Update 27-Feb-2017: Take a look at the vision strip from Orphans of the Void (1952) by Orville Shaara and the computer vision from The Metal Giants (1925) by Edmond Hamilton. End update.

Via ABC Science; thanks to the Argus-eyed Moira, who spotted this story and references.

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