Characteristics of Three Miniature Bio-inspired Optic Flow Sensors in Natural Environments

  • Viollet S.
  • Ruffier F.
  • Ray T.
  • Menouni M.
  • Aubépar F.
  • Kerhuel L.
  • Franceschini N.

  • Optic flow
  • Optical sensor
  • Adaptive pixels
  • Robotics


Considerable attention has been paid during the last decade to vision-based navigation systems based on optic flow (OF) cues. OF-based systems have been implemented on an increasingly large number of sighted autonomous robotic platforms. Nowadays, the OF is measured using conventional cameras, custom-made sensors and even optical mouse chips. However, very few studies have dealt so far with the reliability of these OF sensors in terms of their precision, range and sensitivity to illuminance variations. Three miniature custom-made OF sensors developed at our laboratory, which were composed of photosensors connected to an OF processing unit were tested and compared in this study, focusing on their responses and characteristics in real indoor and outdoor environments in a large range of illuminance. It was concluded that by combining a custom-made aVLSI retina equipped with Adaptive Pixels for Insect-based Sensor (APIS) with a bio-inspired visual processing system, it is possible to obtain highly effective miniature sensors for measuring the OF under real environmental conditions.