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Flies That Do Calculus With Their Wings 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the show-your-work dept.
DudeTheMath (522264) writes "Cornell University scientists studied how fruit flies respond to flight disturbances (instead of wind gusts, they used carefully controlled magnetic pulses) and found that the flies recover in as little as three wing beats (at 250 per second) by doing some kind of calculus in a little 'integrated circuit' of neurons that control the wings directly. The pitch and yaw results are already published, and the roll study is forthcoming."
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Flies That Do Calculus With Their Wings

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  • It's hardwired (Score:3, Informative)

    by invictusvoyd (3546069) on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:14AM (#46541055)
    Things implimented in hardware are always more efficient that those in software . For the fly it happens at such a low level that it is extremely efficient.
  • by Todd Palin (1402501) on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:54AM (#46541171)
    Time, distance, motion, and acceleration are all things that a moving organism needs to master to survive. These things can be mathematically calculated using calculus, and calculus can certainly explain the interconnectedness of these things, but it is unreasonable to say that a fruit-fly uses calculus to fly. If fruit-flies use calculus then so do amoebas.
  • Re:how calculus? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TurboStar (712836) on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:56AM (#46541173)

    Can you or anyone explain how what the neurons are doing is "calculus"?

    Calculus is how we scientifically communicate nature to each other, not away for nature to implement mathematics. Flies are not doing calculus any more than you catching a thrown ball is doing calculus. This headline, and perhaps the grant proposal, is written for stupid people. I hope this explains it for you.

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