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Biol Cybern. 2012 Jan;106(1):51-63. doi: 10.1007/s00422-012-0478-6. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Bio-inspired visual ego-rotation sensor for MAVs.

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Department of Systems and Computational Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.


Flies are capable of extraordinary flight maneuvers at very high speeds largely due to their highly elaborate visual system. In this work we present a fly-inspired FPGA based sensor system able to visually sense rotations around different body axes, for use on board micro aerial vehicles (MAVs). Rotation sensing is performed analogously to the fly's VS cell network using zero-crossing detection. An additional key feature of our system is the ease of adding new functionalities akin to the different tasks attributed to the fly's lobula plate tangential cell network, such as object avoidance or collision detection. Our implementation consists of a modified eneo SC-MVC01 SmartCam module and a custom built circuit board, weighing less than 200 g and consuming less than 4 W while featuring 57,600 individual two-dimensional elementary motion detectors, a 185° field of view and a frame rate of 350 frames per second. This makes our sensor system compact in terms of size, weight and power requirements for easy incorporation into MAV platforms, while autonomously performing all sensing and processing on-board and in real time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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