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Technology and Health News > Sunday, March-16-2008

In the eye of the horsefly (a step forward in artificial vision)

Even a visual stimulus extremely short, less than millisecond, affects the decoding of information in the nervous system.

The Ferrari of insects, the horsefly, a tiny acrobat who moves at high speed, has proved that even a very short visual stimulus (on the scale of milliseconds) affects decoding information in the nervous system. This was discovered by scientists in universities of Indiana, Princeton (New Jersey) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (New Mexico), one of the largest multidisciplinary institutions in the world.

A human being is unable to record the continuous change of scenery and should have a supra-sensory stimulation. But this is a fly: its nervous system processes information very quickly so that the insect can adapt to what he sees with a reaction time of 30 milliseconds. "During the flight," says Ruyter van Steveninck University of Indiana, "the horsefly must quickly analyze a number of complex information and, because of its ability to move rapidly, it is reasonable to think that the way it deciphers level sensory-motor data is optimal. We then decided to study its visual system to understand how his brain can order a continuous stream of very complex data in such an efficient way. "

Scientists have tracked a single sensory-motor neuron in the brain of the horsefly. A tiny needle sensor was inserted inside the neuron of the horsefly and has been subjected to a simulated flight in a natural environment (such as a forest), which provided a change of speed every two milliseconds.

To analyze the "dynamic" of neural signals, the time has been split into fractions of a millisecond (and shorter), during which the neuron could send a signal. In this way, every 30 milliseconds, it is theoretically possible to have over a billion combinations of on-off commands. The researchers then tried to find out whether these combinations were actually commands (a kind of code) or if it was simply the number of pulses during the period of observation.

The researchers have thus found that the brain takes into account the horsefly's pulse durations of less than one millisecond. This study could lead to formulate new principles for artificial vision.

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Comments for In the eye of the horsefly (a step forward in artificial vision)


big hy...
from Croatia...=)

Now im going...=)...
im sorry if I whrit something wrong...

Pozdrav iz Hrvatske=)
Pa-Pa :)
posted by MaLa at Sunday, March-16-2008 19:45pm

Horse Fly

i have a damn horse fly in my house. and its buzzing in my room. i tried to get it. almost did but its too fast. thanks for this information this really helped me understand how much more agressive i need to be to get a fly :P
posted by Natalia at Tuesday, September-30-2008 03:03am

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