Honeybees Beat Computers at Face Recognition

Posted 29 Jan 2009 at 21:51 UTC (updated 29 Jan 2009 at 21:51 UTC) by steve Share This reader Jan let us know about some interesting new research from Dr. Adrian Dyer at Monash University. It turns out honey bees can learn to recognize human faces from different angles. Not impressed yet? The bees are doing it with brains that are 0.01 percent the size of a human brain. Their entire brain only has about one million neurons. Yet the bees are doing a better job than the most advanced machine vision systems. This means bee brains are doing things much more efficiently than machine vision researchers believed possible. The researchers have already learned one bee brain secret - the bees do image interpolation on multiple rotated views of the face, allowing them to recognize the same face at a novel rotational angle. After researchers get over their surprise that bees are mentally rotating images in their tiny brains, they'll get right on the job of improving machine vision, making for better, faster, and cheaper robots. For more technical details see the paper Insect Brains Use Image Interpolation Mechanism to Recognise Rotated Objects (PDF format). Honey bee photo by flickr user cygnus921.

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