Praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to possess 3-D vision, and researchers have found the perfect tool for studying how this vision works: miniature 3-D glasses.
The research team has created the world’s tiniest pair of 3-D glasses that they attach with beeswax to the mantises. With the glasses on, the insects are placed in front a monitor that displays computer-generated 3-D images in a method similar to how 3-D movies in theaters utilize displaced imagery to fool the human brain into thinking the image has depth.
Depending on how the mantis reacts to the images, the study may determine if mantises see moving objects standing out depth-wise in the same way that humans do. Researchers hope that information gained from the study will help them discover how three-dimensional vision evolved, as well as new ways to implement 3-D into future technology.
“If we find that the way mantises process 3-D vision is very different to the way humans do it,” said Dr. Vivek Nityananda, a research associate at Newcastle University, “then that could open up all kinds of possibilities to create much simpler algorithms for programming 3D vision into robots.”