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October 19, 2012
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology are exploring how flies navigate their environment and their own movement so efficiently. The researchers built a flight simulator in which they simulated specific flight patterns by controlling optical "flux fields" presented to a test subject (a fly). The researchers are investigating what goes on in a fly's brain while they are in flight. Although a fly's brain is no bigger than a pinhead, they are able to negotiate obstacles in rapid flight, have split-second reactions (to a hand trying to swat them, for example), and navigate their way to a tasty meal. Results of the research could aid in developing robots that can independently apprehend and learn from their surroundings. To learn more, see the EurekAlert! news story Robotics insights through flies' eyes. (Date of Image: 2009) Credit: Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology/Borst & Schorner

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