Dual camera system enables humans to see like bees

A group from Leeds University's schools of geography and biology, working in collaboration with Key Engineering Solutions (Leeds, UK), has produced a system that enables members of the public to simultaneously view plants as both a human and a bee would see them.

Dual camera system enables humans to see like bees
Dual camera system enables humans to see like bees

A group from Leeds University's schools of geography and biology, working in collaboration with Key Engineering Solutions (Leeds, UK), produced an interactive exhibit for the Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show that enabled members of the public to simultaneously view plants as both a human and a bee would see them.

The system used two USB cameras from IDS Imaging (Obersulm, Germany) -- a standard color (RGB) digital camera and a monochrome digital camera combined with a high-pass filter to allow through only the UV components (350-400 nm) of light.

Data from the cameras were processed using National Instruments (Austin, TX) LabVIEW to mimic how a pollinator sees flowers and compare that to how humans see them, since bees can see UV light but have a poor response to red light. The cameras were placed on a motorized pan and tilt mount controlled by a separate touch screen.

The image processing functions available in the software enabled spectral components of the two images to be split, filtered and combined. A custom user interface was also created to provide users with on-site fine tuning of the cameras due to variations in the lighting conditions.

The system featured a LabVIEW front panel containing four small images displaying the Red, Green, Blue and UV images separately; beneath them were two big images side by side: a "Human-Vision" (R, G, B) image and a "Bee-Vision" image that combined G, B and UV data streams.

Interested in reading more about applications of National Instruments LabVIEW? Here is a selection of recent articles that Vision Systems Design has published over the past year.

1. Smart cameras check particle board

Engineers at Siam Riso Wood Products have developed an automated vision system that monitors the quality of particle board using smart cameras supplied by National Instruments Thailand.

2. Therapy system gets physical with Kinect-based motion analysis

Students at the University of Leeds' Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed a Kinect-based system designed to measure the rehabilitation progress of patients who suffer strokes or other neurological disorders.

3. Mobile robots inspect rails, consumer goods

Engineers at the Loccioni Group have developed a mobile robot for railroad switch inspection and another for consumer goods inspection.

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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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