COLIN CUTHBERT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY COLIN CUTHBERT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Object avoidance research. Dr Claire Rind checking a locust (Locusta migratoria) secured in front of a screen showing a rapidly approaching spacecraft from the film Star Wars. By monitoring how the locust's nerves react to approaching objects, a collision-avoidance system for vehicles could be created. The locust, harmlessly secured by plasti- cine, has a large neurone (nerve cell) behind each of its compound eyes called a lobular giant movem- ent detector (LGMD). These neurones can judge whether or not the craft will hit the locust. From studying their activity, a robot was built with a similar object-avoiding vision system. Dr Rind did this work at the University of Newcastle, England.
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