(The Monitor Daily, US) – Seeking out new ways to improve computer 3D perception algorithms, a couple of British scientists performed a couple of unusual experiments of praying mantises. According to their study, praying mantises can see in 3D, making them formidable hunters.
Although much is known about the praying mantises, in terms of mating preferences and hunting rituals, there was one mystery yet to be cracked by the scientific community. Scientists were totally oblivious as to how these majestic insects could detect and capture its prey with such an uncanny accuracy.
They did had a hunch that praying mantises could see three-dimensional images, but up until now they have been unable to prove this theory.
So, the scientists from the Newcastle University set up a little lab experiment in order to ascertain how the praying mantis is capable of detecting its prey. There was another thing at stake here: by proving that mantises can see in true 3D, the team would refute the statement according to which only vertebrates are able to perceive 3D images.
Several praying mantises were captured and sealed in a tank containing a screen. After making sure the little rascals can’t run away, the British scientists outfitted each inset with a pair of anaglyph glasses.
Anaglyph glasses are the precursors of modern 3D glasses, using blue or red lenses in order to create the 3D effect.
By outfitting the mantises with minuscule 3D glasses, the scientists were able to prove that praying mantises can see in 3D. Two pairs of anaglyph glasses were used for the experiment: one pair contained red and blue tints and the other had blue and green tints.
After putting the glasses on the insects, the researchers used the screen inside the tank in order to project images of different insect. According to their observations, when the insects were outfitted with the red and blue tints, they were slightly confused and unable to see clearly.
The scientists proceeded into swapping the first pair of 3D glasses with the second pair which contained the blue and green lenses. After outfitting them with the other pair, the mantises could clearly see their prey. And they did not think twice before attacking its virtual prey.
Jenny Reads, one of the scientists working on the projects, who is also a professor of vision sciences, declared that the experiment was successful in demonstrating that praying mantises can see in 3D. Moreover, the experiment opens up new venues in research projects.
Other scientists could use this data in order to create improved computer algorithms.