Flies may not seem like nature's ace pilots when they're bumping up against a closed window or getting squashed beneath a rolled-up copy of the New York Times Magazine, but a German company hopes to unravel the secrets of insect flight by tapping their brains. Literally.
The company Cognition for Technical Systems (CoTeSys) has designed a flight simulator for flies. They hope that analyzing the fly's brain while it navigates a simulated flight path will provide the data needed to design super-agile micro-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The simulator (pictured below), shows a rapid succession of flashing patterns and moving shapes that mimic objects a fly might have to navigate. Electrodes monitor the brain waves of the fly, and a computer process those brain signals into patterns understandable to those without compound eyes.
Analyzing the data, the CoTeSys researchers discovered that the fly constructs its understanding of the environment based on the speed at which objects whiz by. Now the next step is to develop software that would allow a robot to do the same thing. Robots are notoriously poor at navigating their environment, and the inability to process camera data has severely limited the development of autonomous UAVs.
So while it still seems unlikely that Microsoft Fly Flight Simulator will end up in many Christmas stockings this winter, this may still be a significant step towards creating autonomous, insect-sized flying robots.
[via Research and Development]
Flies are the dumbest of creatures-- they can't learn anything-- if you put them through the same positive/ negative stimulus training a thousand times, they still will not learn to avoid any identifiable form or light pattern, something simple one-celled creatures can do... yet flies are excellent survivors as a species.
They obviously have no means of storing data, even for short periods... otherwise they could learn SOMETHING... but they're awesome for their quick response time and maneuverability. They are strictly stimulus-response mechanisms. I suspect researchers will find that what few neurons flies have are all connected to each other in a massive parallel system, making such behavior possible.
this expirment is obviously vert worth while few people realize how complex flies are and how many of thousands of nerves they have because evolution has allowed to compress them and give them an advatange in flight they even have neurons in their thorax.Also i was reading that fruit fly can dream and have a conscious but and have very similar brain waves humans(see douglas foxe's paper).Turns out flies are very complex creatures far exceed the engenerring expertise and processing of our very own technology I think it is very smart to research bilogical systems to help in the creation of our Artificial ones.
sounbs like some great advances in technology, hopefully they will be getting better soon.
Incredible - Gotta love technology!
very interesting thing! technologies are growing so fast!