Theme: Inspired by nature


Orchidee Bee. Photo: Emily Baird

Insect eyes enable drones to fly independently

After studying how insects navigate through dense vegetation, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have come up with a system that can be applied to flying robots. By adapting the system to drones, they can be made to adjust their speed to their surroundings and fly on their own– completely...

A wasp flies easily through an opening not much wider than its wingspan. Photo: Antoine Beyeler

Balancing act in the air

All animals need some form of warning system that prevents them from colliding with objects in their surroundings. The warning system helps them to continually regulate their speed and determine their distance from objects. The Vision Group at the Department of Biology in Lund studies how insects control their progress...

The Elephant hawk moth, Deilephila elpenor. These moths not only have good night vision, they can also distinguish the colours of flowers by the light of the stars.

Razor-sharp eyesight in the night-time jungle

Some insects have exellent nocturnal vision, despite having the same type of compound eyes as insects that are active during the day. Nocturnal bees in the rainforests of Panama can percieve light intensities that are 100 million times weaker than daylight! HOW DO FLYING INSECTS IMPROVE THEIR EYESIGHT AT NIGHT?...

The tropical bee, Megalopta genialis, can perceive light intensities that are 100 million times weaker than daylight. This nocturnal bee is one of the insects that provided inspiration for a night vision video camera. Scanning electron microscope image by Rita Wallén.

Car’s video camera helps you see like an insect

The way that nocurnal insects intensify incoming light could be used to improve how cameras function in low light. Eric Warrent had the idea of applying his insect vision algorithm to a video camera. The algorithm senses how light it is and how much the camera is moving. Just as...