Feeds

Insect vision a template for computer ‘sight’

Can you see what bees see?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Computers aren’t yet good at making complex, ad-hoc decisions from visual inputs. However, the discovery at Melbourne’s RMIT that bees' brains are big enough to do so could set the direction for future computer vision research.

According to RMIT Associate Professor Adrian Dyer, of RMIT’s school of media and communication, the Australian-French project demonstrated that honeybees have enough brain to apply multiple rules to complex visual problems.

Humans do such things pretty much without thinking: approaching an intersection, Dyer said, we can simultaneously “observe the traffic light colour, the flow of oncoming cars and pedestrians to make a decision.”

Experience, Dyer said, teaches us to apply complex rules to this kind of problem – but a primate brain isn’t needed to show similar kind of learning. In the RMIT experiments, bees were placed in a Y-shaped maze, and given different elements with specific relationships, such as above/below or left/right.

The research suggests that bees were able to learn that elements had to follow two sets of rules in a specific relationship, while also processing elements that were different to each other.

As the researchers write, “Bees that learned to classify visual targets by using this dual concept transferred their choices to unknown stimuli that offered a best match”, noting that cognitive processing can be “achieved by relatively simple neural architectures”.

Because bee brains are simple and accessible, Dyer said, the experiment “offers the possibility of deciphering the neural basis of high-level cognitive tasks”.

If this kind of processing can be deciphered, it will become much easier to recreate similar processes in computers, making for robots able to process more complex visual inputs more quickly.

Monash University, and French collaborators from the University of Toulouse and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique worked with RMIT on the research, which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (abstract). ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.