Scientists Make 3D Glasses for Praying Mantises

Posted on January 7, 2016

Scientists from Newcastle University, UK made 3D glasses for praying mantises. The miniature glasses were used to prove that mantises use 3D vision. The researchers say the study confirms that mantises use stereopsis or 3D perception for hunting. A mantis wearing 3D glasses is pictured above.

The glasses were tested in a specially-designed insect cinema. Humans use 3D glasses with red and blue lenses but the mantises were given 3D glasses with one blue and one green lens because they have trouble seeing red light. The glasses were attached to the mantises with beeswax. They were then shown short videos of simulated bugs moving around a computer screen. The mantises did not try to catch the virtual bugs when they were in 2D. However, when the bugs were shown in 3D the mantises struck out at them.

Jenny Read, Professor of Vision Science at Newcastle and leader of the study, says in a statement, "Despite their minute brains, mantises are sophisticated visual hunters which can capture prey with terrifying efficiency. We can learn a lot by studying how they perceive the world. Better understanding of their simpler processing systems helps us understand how 3D vision evolved, and could lead to possible new algorithms for 3D depth perception in computers."

A research paper on the study was published here in the journal Nature.

Here's an update on the unusual research from Wired

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