Dragonfly Eyes Provide Vision Model for Bionic Eyes

By: | October 18th, 2015

People are perhaps most impressed with a dragonfly’s ability to hover and speed away in a split second. But a close-up of dragonfly eyes shows a remarkable technology the insect uses to navigate its world.

IndustryTap has reported on The World’s First Bionic Eye, The First FDA Approved Bionic Eye, and a Bionic Lens called the Ocumetric Bionic Lens that improves human vision to three times 20/20 after just 8 minutes of surgery. But truth be told, not all bionic eyes are perfect. There is sometimes an unfocused image that gives a user the general idea of his or her surroundings but doesn’t allow fine discrimination, especially in the peripheral fields of vision or with sudden movements.

At the same time, as human bionic eyes are improving, the Internet of Things and the expected “trillion sensors” is pushing researchers to develop machine vision for new software/hardware applications including surveillance, wildlife monitoring, smart cars, and the like.

Running parallel to work on eyesight and vision is “bionic reconstruction” of human limbs in which transplantation of nerves and muscles and connecting signals to allow movement of limbs could have indirect benefits for bionic vision research.

Science Continuing to Solve Technical Vision Problems

Scientists recently have identified neural circuits in the retinas of mice that carry signals enabling the eye to detect movement. Other researchers have been working to improve algorithms for machine vision.

On another front, researchers are improving bionic eyes by going back to nature and studying the eyes of dragonflies. Dragonflies have a number of unique characteristics that help researchers better understand vision, including large eyes with 10 to 30 types of light-sensitive options that provide highly diversified color vision.

The following video shows dragonfly eyes and how dragonflies navigate their world:

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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