News of the WeekNeuroscience

A Machine With a Fly's-Eye View

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Science  03 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5433, pp. 1472-1473
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5433.1472a

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Scientists have a new tool that may help them unravel the secrets of a fly's agility: an analog electronic circuit that models a key part of the fly's visual system and is built into a rudimentary robot so that it can interact with the real world, which was developed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena. The developers of the robot fly say it may turn out to be a better probe of the fly visual system than experiments with live flies or computer simulations. The robot fly's eye may also benefit robotics, because its analog design is fast, very stable, and uses little power.