[FoRK] Secret Math of Fly Eyes Could Overhaul Robot Vision

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Nov 14 19:15:42 PST 2009

Studying neuron reactions leads to directly implementable, and highly 
useful, mathematical equations.  All hail our flying droid overlords!

> By turning the brain cell activity underlying fly eyesight into 
> mathematical equations, researchers have found an ultra-efficient 
> method for pulling motion patterns from raw visual data.
> Though they built the system, the researchers don’t quite understand 
> how it works.
> Intriguingly, the algorithm doesn’t work nearly as well if any one 
> operation is omitted. The sum is greater than the whole, and O’Carroll 
> and Brinkworth don’t know why. Because the parameters are in constant 
> feedback-driven flux, it produces a cascade of non-linear equations 
> that are difficult to untangle in retrospect, and almost impossible to 
> predict.
> “We started with insect vision as an inspiration, and built a model 
> that’s feasible for real-world use, but in doing so, we’ve built a 
> system almost as complicated as the insect’s,” said O’Carroll. “That’s 
> one of the fascinating things here. It doesn’t necessarily lead us to 
> a complete understanding of how the system works, but to an 
> appreciation that nature got it right.”



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