Our doctors at nJoy Vision celebrate being on the leading edge of innovation and technology when it comes to taking care of your eyesight. But this latest bit of research has even us scratching our heads. Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have developed a computer program that mimics the eyesight of dragonflies. The result? It might be possible to create a bionic dragonfly inlay, of sorts. Let us explain.
While this may not seem like a big deal to the common person, the implications are pretty amazing. It all starts with understanding just how unique the dragonfly eye truly is. These tiny predators’ eyes have helped them become one of the natural worlds most effective predators. Yep, you heard us right. It turns out the dragonflies are one of nature’s most deadly hunters.
Why are they so effective at hunting? You guessed it. It’s all about their eyesight.
So here are some pretty cool facts we dug up concerning the eye of these tiny killers:
- Most insects have multifaceted eyes—house flies, for example, have about 6,000 eye facets that give them a panoramic view of their surroundings. It’s the reason their eyes look like honeycombs up close. But with 30,000 individual facets, dragonflies blow them—and every other insect—completely out of the water. Each facet, or ommatidia, creates its own image, and the dragonfly brain has eight pairs of descending visual neurons to compile those thousands of images into one picture.
- The massive bulbous eyes of a dragonfly wrap around its head like an astronaut’s helmet, giving it a 360 degree view of the world.
- When they hunt, the compound eyes of a dragonfly allow it to sort of “section off” its visual field, like a grid. Keeping their prey in the same section of the grid helps with that incredible accuracy when they intercept something mid-flight.
-Dr. R. M. Olberg, Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Life Sciences
So what does this have to do with human eyesight?
Using the same “tracking mechanisms” found in the dragonfly eye, researchers are hoping to further develop a bionic eye that will help visually impaired men and women detect when moving objects suddenly veer into their paths. This research could go a long way in improving the quality of life and independence of the blind. Making it easier for them to walk unaided.
And who knows, in a few years, this research could be used to help further improve the safety and accuracy of automated vehicles. For more info, check out the video embedded in this post.
OK. So maybe a super-fancy Bionic Dragonfly Inlay is not necessarily in your future. How about LASIK instead?
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