3D glasses help praying mantises to view bug movies

3D glasses help praying mantises to view bug movies

It was just a few years ago when 3D-video was a craze and most Hollywood blockbusters and flat screen boasted the technology. But, scientists have now found another group that is happier wearing the specs and that is the praying mantises.

Yes, the odd insects have now been outfitted with tiny 3D glasses to ensure that they really hunt and see in the 3D vision. From a picture, it is difficult to determine if the praying mantis looks creepy or cute.

For several years, researchers had suspected that the mantises have the ability to see in 3D and scientists from the Newcastle University in the U.K. has finally come up with the right design of 3D glasses for these insects.

The idea remains the same as the polarized glasses in blue and red from the old school used for viewing 3D movies. However, the scientists have used green in place of red since the bugs can see green much better. Once the custom specs were fitted, the tiny insects were treated to a show short videos depicting tasty bugs in the 3D version and they lost no time striking at them. But, when the identical images in 2D were shown, the insects showed no reaction.

Jenny Read, a professor in Vision Science and study leader, stated that in spite of the minute brains, the praying mantises represent sophisticated visual hunters that can capture their prey with amazing efficiency. He also added that by studying the way they perceived the world, humans can learn a lot. Through an enhanced understanding of how the processing systems worked in the insects, we can better appreciate the evolution of 3D. This understanding could also lead to the possibility of new algorithms for the 3D depth perception in computers.

Thus, at a future date, if you are overwhelmed by the experience from a 3D game, you would perhaps thank the praying mantis since it still understands why it cannot grab the unusual blue and green bug that is right there in front of the eyes.

Maybe, a couple of years down under, we may get to see a mantis wearing the Oculus Rift and riding a Tron light cycle!

A press release from Newcastle University describing the recent discovery can be found here.

3D glasses help praying mantises to view bug movies