280-Degree Camera Catches Bee’s Eye View
What the world looks like to a bee.
CREDIT: Sturtzl et. al, 2010
Although simple in design, a bee’s small brain and compound eyes form a complex flight control system, giving the insect pinpoint control as it zooms through a 3-D obstacle course of leaves, flowers and honey combs. Researchers have now created a micro-camera that could allow agile micro-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) the ability to see the world as bees do.
Writing in August 6 issue of the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Wolfgang Stürzl and his colleagues from the Bielefeld University, Germany, describe how they used a special curved mirror made of acrylic glass to create a camera with a 280-degree view.
Unlike a live honey bee, whose eyes are composed of tiny wedges, each with their own sensor, Stürzl had to cram all that data through a single point. To focus the image, Stürtzl used both a lens, which focused images from the front 150-degrees, and the special curved mirror to collect light from the other 130-degrees. A computer then converted the curved images into pictures that a human could analyze.
The computer processes the images, and stitches them together into a coherent picture, at a rate of 10 miliseconds per frame. At that speed, a computer could easily produce the 25 frames per second needed to produce a flowing movie.
In its current state, the camera lacks the ability to make dynamic adjustments needed for flight . Additionally, to fully simulate the vision of bees, Stürzl needs to add ultraviolet sensors as well, since honey bees see in that wavelength of light.