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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