Elementary Motion Detection with Contrast Adaptation

Period of Performance: 04/13/2001 - 04/13/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tanner Research
34 Lexington Avenue Array
Ewing, NJ 08618
Principal Investigator


Insects display remarkable capabilities for guidance and directed flight based on their visual sense. If duplicated in autonomous flying weapons, these capabilities could greatly enhance their effectiveness. We propose a collaborative effort between an insect neurobiologist and VLSI technologists to develop motion processing theory and technology based on insect vision. This effort will apply new findings from insect neurobiology to the well-established correlational model of the elementary motion detector (EMD), which appears to be the basis for all higher-level visual motion processing in the insect visual system. These new findings suggest that adaptation of contrast sensitivity, mediated by motion, plays a crucial role in extending the dynamic range of motion estimation and conferring response invariance with respect to non-motion-related parameters. Thus, we propose an effort to formalize this theory and further develop an implementation approach for an EMD in analog VLSI to include the capability for contrast adaptation.Estimation of egomotion and tracking of small moving targets are two capabilities of insect visual motion processing that would be directly useful for autonomous flying vehicles and weapons. Expected applications are in guidance for near-ground flight and in seeker technology.