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Scientists Give Praying Mantises Tiny 3D Glasses 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at Newcastle University are outfitting praying mantises with tiny 3D glasses in order to study how their vision works. From the article: 'Praying mantises have stereoscopic vision, unlike most invertebrates. This makes them sophisticated hunters, and ideal subjects for a team from Newcastle University led by vision scientist Jenny Read. By putting 3-D glasses on the mantises and faking them out, Reid and her colleagues want to learn how the insect's vision differs from ours.""
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Scientists Give Praying Mantises Tiny 3D Glasses

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Eat your way though eager bachelors, defend your territory against other insects, boss fight nerdy etymologists.

  • Reid and her colleagues want to learn how the insect's vision differs from ours.

    I think I'd start with: compound eyes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      By the way: "stereoscopic" vision is hardly unusual in arthropods. Most crabs and shrimp have it. Hunting spiders often have it (not even just "stereo"... more like surround sound). And so on. I am pretty sure a lot of flies can see forward in stereo.
      • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @11:54PM (#46856465)
        Perhaps they are making some distinction between stereoscopic and binocular vision. A multi-eye configuration isn't necessarily binocular, even if the eye clusters are separated into two spaces. The eyes are well spread for their size, but they don't move and focus the same, so they may not image the same.
        • That's a good point.

          But I do know that certain hunting spiders do have stereoscopic vision, however I don't know what the resolution is. It might be terrible.
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            Depends on your definition of "stereoscopic" as that has no technical meaning I know of. The meaning I'd infer is that the brain creates a single image from multiple separate images. When bug eyes are shown in movies and such, it's always as a kaleidoscope image, not a single image, distorted or not. It's never been answered how it appears to the bugs. They don't like talking to researchers.
            • Dragonflies certainly seem to be pretty good at judging the distance to nearby insects to attack them. And hoverflies as well, are really good at hovering in place and chasing other insects away. Actually, many insects eem to be able to judge distances quite well. Just landing on a flower or a turd wouldn't be easy without stereoscopic vision.

              On the other hand, quite a lot of insects fly round in such a clumsy manner that you wonder whether they even have eyes at all. Crane flies, beetles, heteroptera,...

            • by cmdr_tofu (826352)

              Sorry just replying to undo bad moderation. Didn't mean to "bug" you :)

      • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Monday April 28, 2014 @12:03AM (#46856497)

        By the way: "stereoscopic" vision is hardly unusual in arthropods. Most crabs and shrimp have it. Hunting spiders often have it (not even just "stereo"... more like surround sound). And so on. I am pretty sure a lot of flies can see forward in stereo.

        Are you just citing arthropods that have multiple eyes that can see in different directions? Stereoscopic means that the difference in what the two eyes see can be interpreted as depth (i.e. through parallax). Think of it like stereo vs mono sound. Just because you have two speakers that you point in different directions doesn't mean you have stereo sound even though it might fill the room better than a single speaker, the difference between what's coming out of the two speakers is what makes it stereo.

        • Yes, you are correct that I might have conflated two similar-pointing eyes with "stereoscopic", for some of those creatures.

          But on the other hand, I do know what stereoscopic vision is, and some arthropods are known to have it (like some of the spiders I mentioned above for example). So I wasn't completely wrong.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Hi, Apparently I'm posting as "Anonymous Coward" due to not having used Slashdot before, but I'm Jenny Read who is leading this research. While I completely agree that probably lots of invertebrates have stereoscopic vision, I'm not aware of any *proof* that they do, for any species other than mantids. If you know otherwise, e.g. for spiders, please do point me to to it! NB our original press release carefully referred to mantids as "the only invertebrates known to have 3D vision", but this got a little ob

            • While I completely agree that probably lots of invertebrates have stereoscopic vision, I'm not aware of any *proof* that they do, for any species other than mantids.

              Thank you for clarifying this.

              No, I'm not aware of any actual proof. I have read comments that certain hunting spiders (Wolf Spiders for example) have 2 of their 8 eyes enlarged and forward-facing for "stereoscopic vision" while chasing prey, but since you mention it I am not aware of any research substantiating that claim.

    • I could be wrong but they don't look like compound eyes to me [google.com.au]. Coincidently I recently photographed a large green Mantis in my yard using a macro lens, unlike other large insects it feels like they are looking at you, they have what look like rudimentary pupils in the center of their eyes and turn their head so to follow your movements. The "head cocking" behaviour they display when observing a human is very similar to the way a bird behaves when it looks at you. Another similarity to birds is their reactio
      • They have compound eyes like any other insect. They just happen to have Pseudopupils [wikipedia.org]. Compound eyes have pigments that reflect light from wide angles and let straight on light pass through to the photo-receptor.

        Mantis have a high contrast between the two states giving the appearance of a pupil, probably to creep us out a lot more.

      • by Agent0013 (828350)
        I have had some Mantis on my front porch for a summer and had one as a pet for a while. I also noticed the strange pupil that looks right at you no matter where you move. They do turn their head to look you in the face, so they can see clearly. The pupil is actually an optical illusion though. The eye is compound and the individual eye segments that are aligned right with your viewpoint show as the dark spot. Imagine a large pile of drinking straws all lined up together. You would only be able to see throug
  • by Kittenman (971447) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @11:17PM (#46856343)
    Give the little fellows 'Google' glasses. See what they make of those.
    • >Give the little fellows 'Google' glasses. See what they make of those.

      The NSA doesn't need any more ideas.

      "Yo dude, I think we're bugged"
  • Finally... (Score:4, Funny)

    by meridien (718383) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @11:23PM (#46856373) Homepage
    Great. Maybe they will enjoy the stupid 3D movies that no one else gives a crap about.
  • by Boawk (525582) on Sunday April 27, 2014 @11:35PM (#46856403)
    Scientists returned to the drawing board after their first field trial of putting the glasses on a praying mantis ended in failure. The team is soon expected to announce the design prosthetic ears for the praying mantises,
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A f'ing praying mantis got to try 3D before I could, just GREAT.

  • To see that slut bitch coming before she bites off your head.

  • by CBravo (35450)
    Are they calling actors cockroaches? Or were they watching politics on 3d?
  • greet our predating mantis overlords!
  • Would it not be easier to comparing how the mantis 3D vision works normally and then fitting humans with different types of 3D glasses to fake *them* out?
  • ...3D television with active glasses failed the human audience, so considering how many insects there are in this would...

    ...this could be a HIT in the insect world, kinda makes you wonder how they're going to pay for them though, aphid milk?
  • by Flammon (4726)
    Surprisingly, it's not government funded. I totally expected this be funded by the government.
  • Until we know who designed the glasses, there will be no telling just how popular they might become... If they can only capture 20% of the Mantis-3d-Glass market share, will they have failed?
  • It won't last. 3D has never managed to keep the attention of the masses, and mantis' will be no different. Soon, they'll be preying for normal vision again.
  • Stage 1: Work out mantises' ability to use digital visual aids using VR.

    Stage 2: Upgrade research to make them use AR.

    Stage 3: Make giant, intelligent mutant mantises.

    Stage 4: Teach giant, intelligent mutant mantises (natures most efficient killer insects) to follow orders.

    Stage 5: Profi... Aaarrrghh! They've gone rogue!

    • by Agripa (139780)

      Stage 6: Scientists postpone mantis DNA tests indefinitely and equip new test subjects with rifles.

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