• Jan 19, 2010
Dung Beetles and your driving will soon have something in common – Click above to watch video

It's called "local adaptive spatiotemporal smoothing," and birds moths do it, bees do it, even educated fleas dung beetles do it. What it means is that when a dung beetle looks at something, it can selectively enhance multiple areas for details or for motion detection simultaneously. What that apparently means for you is, eventually, full-color night vision in your car.

According to New Scientist, Toyota has teamed up with researchers who have been studying insect optics in order to create better driving aids. Mercedes-Benz and BMW use infrared for their night-vision system, but this new system gathers information gathered in the visible spectrum and processes it differently.

It involves a three-part algorithmic, two of which video cameras use right now. When capturing a scene at night, the camera brightens the dark pixels while leaving bright pixels unaltered. The second step is to sharpens the edges within the picture, which it does by changing pixel values where it detects boundaries between light and dark areas. It increases details at the same time as it increases noise. The new and final step that is owed to dung beetles is when the camera compares values of nearby pixels to smooth out the image. The result is reduced noise and enhanced detail.

Now that the scientists have created a camera that can do all this processing on-the-go and at driving speed, Toyota will begin the work of integration. Follow the jump to check out a video on the research. Who would have thought a bug needed such awesome vision to find poop. Hat tip to Ric J!

[Source: New Scientist | Image: Paul Garland - C.C. License 2.0]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's obvious that the capacity to grasp the potential benefit of scientific R&D is lacking in commenters 1-5, but not to worry, you've been seen, heard, and read now your day is complete.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota needs to spend more time trying to figure out why their own cars are killing people.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, but dung beatles are full of it and I think this gives them a crap outlook on life.Al-
      • 4 Years Ago
      Photo caption:

      "Dung Beetles and your driving will soon have something in common."

      Yeah, both are full of crap. Sorry, I just couldn't resist the opportunity.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I heard Toyota's night-vision system was utter crap....


      LMAO
        • 4 Years Ago
        lol... Come on guys, it's a joke.

        I thought it was kind of funny.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do you think there will ever be a day where we no longer use headlights on cars (other than maybe running lights for the benefit of pedestrians)? If the reliability of the technology increases enough, I can see large, dense cities push for such an implementation first, probably to lower the amount of light pollution. Or not? I'm not sure how much headlights add to light pollution. I'm just a suburban guy! (the place, not the SUV).
      • 4 Years Ago
      The ever relentless technolgy creep that makers are putting in to cars has its upside and its downside. Today's cars almost drive thenselves, to the point that a lazier and less attentive driving style can be employed. I have an old V8 Studebaker with no power steering and a manual transmission. Try to drive that baby using a cell phone. The manual brakes make me a bit more cautious when I drive. Safety is a combination of the car and the driver. I am not saying the old car is safer intrisically, it is not.Like emissions and safety regs, we are perhaps reaching the point of diminishing returns.I love the new parking system on the Lexus...geez,if you cannot park your car, maybe you shouldn't be driving one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is ingenious. It allows you to more easily see the tree that you're about to hit when your Toyota's electronics pin the throttle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        wow... ppl just can't let it go. try asking someone on the street if they know about toyota's apparent throttle sticking problems. all this stuff is on the internet. i know of many toyota owners who don't even know what you're talking about and have never experienced the problem ever. and their friends who own toyotas haven't either. i'm a BMW fan and i drive a BMW so this doesn't affect me.... but seriously guys, give it a rest.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is the reason why everybody loves Toyotas: PERCEPTION and IGNORANCE... everybody THINKS that Toyota makes PERFECT cars with NO problems.

        I'm not saying that all Toyotas exhibit the killer acceleration problems. Just because you hear about people complaining about their GM car, it doesn't mean that ALL GM cars have that same problem. It's just gotten to the point that Toyota's unhappy customer voices are now being heard as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The reason people on the streets don't know about it is because Toyota is a media darling. Any other brand would have been crucified by mass media by now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Toyota? Dung? Yep! I could have told you that.



      • 4 Years Ago
      GM studied the dung.
      • 4 Years Ago
      PUBIC HAIR!
      • 4 Years Ago
      HUD Augmented reality enhanced vision, FLIR, StarLightAmplification, and this system of using visible light videography...

      Sounds cool.

      But, in the mean time... it is a three-part algorithm. The process is algorithmic... which is better than Al Gore-ithmic. :D
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