Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review

Document Type



Vision is a key factor in detecting and pursuing prey in many animals, yet it can be constrained both by intrinsic limitations and the complexity of the visual environment. For example, tiger beetles are visual predators that frequently stop during prey pursuits, possibly because the limitations of their visual systems cause them to lose sight of their target when advancing towards it at high speeds. This problem may be compounded as the visual environment becomes more complex. To test these hypotheses, we used simulations with a video system to model pursuit strategies used by the beetle. We matched the properties of the robot video system to those of the tiger beetle visual system, and challenged it to pursue visual targets in a behavioral arena. Simulated robots successfully chased prey, producing pursuit trajectories different to those made by the beetles. In addition to furthering our understanding of biological vision, these experiments may suggest design principles for autonomous robots that may be required to navigate through unknown environments.