back to article Scientists repurpose hoverfly vision to detect drones by sound

After some careful study, it turns out the brain of an insect is pretty good at separating signal from noise. Researchers from the University of South Australia, Flinders University, and Australian defense company Midspar Systems found that to be the case when they teamed up to reverse-engineer the visual systems of hoverflies …

  1. scrubber

    Use Cases

    My mind immediately went to checking whether there is a government drone nearby recording your conversation rather than securing airports or finding drones with explosives.

    It would appear I think the government are more dangerous than the terrorists.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Use Cases

      Given that there is always a government somewhere that is funding the terrorists, in the broad view you are right.

      However, there's a fair chance that it is not your govenment that is funding terrorists, so you are also wrong.

      Unless you're in Russia, in which case you do not say such things because, if you do, you're the terrorist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Use Cases

        Or China, or America or ...

      2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Use Cases

        "you do not say such things"

        Or if you must, speak softly.

  2. cantankerous swineherd

    managed to make sense of the video, despite the background noise. #iamahoverfly

  3. Tom 7 Silver badge

    What about silent drones?

    I've seen a motorised glider with PV on the wings that only needs to run its motor around 1 minute in 10 to stay aloft. It seems 60:1 can be achieve but half that is common.

    1. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge

      Re: What about silent drones?

      I'm curious as to how this system differentiates between winged-drone propellers and regular airplane propellers -- or if it does.

      The next step in the drone-stealth/drone-detection technowars is the development of no-propeller, flapping-wing drones.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Planes vs drones

        I would suspect that the frequencies of the propellers are quite different. But detecting an unauthorized drone will allow the authorities to take appropriate action.

  4. Tom 7 Silver badge

    This is where AI is going to really get I

    once people can take apart intelligent beings brains and identify and copy the components then we can really start worrying!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is where AI is going to really get I

      It's just sophisticated pattern matching - whatever anyone says.

      You want AI ? Ask Google for a list of clocks that tick, aren't coloured white and without roman numerals.

      Still think it's close ?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: This is where AI is going to really get I

        Sophisticated pattern matching is all we do. We just do it on several levels at once. Google might not do the clock thing but they're not interested in doing that - they only want your money and giving the right answer to slightly complicate questions doesnt help them do that. People are starting to pull apart animals brains - someone has taken the honey bee brain and got the navigations system and redone that in AI and it works far far faster and uses several orders of magnitude less nodes than any trained AI equivalent. As we find out and emulate more and more bits of brains things will come together quite quickly - currently we're more or less just bashing numbers against each other and seeing what falls out but when we learn how our own heads actually work - and there are already full brain models to work from - then the fun starts.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: This is where AI is going to really get I

        Heh. I wanted to know the German name for the small garden bird Great Tit. So I searched 'German Great Tit'.

        The image search produced, as expected, a number of these birds. And a much larger number of young ladies serving beer at Oktoberfest...

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: This is where AI is going to really get I

      I'll start worrying when _machines_ can take apart intelligent beings' brains and identify and copy the components

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    So which drone?

    Very ingenious but I can see numerous problems with this technology, the most obvious being how can you tell which one is the threat among many and how can you tell the difference between a distant drone and an audio system sending out sound that emulates a drone? At the very least I can think that bad actors will have the incentive to develop all sorts of acoustic countermeasures. Then there's always the fun factor of bringing an airport to a halt just by making a drone sound.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: So which drone?

      "bad actors will have the incentive to develop all sorts of acoustic countermeasures. "

      That's how offensive and defensive weapons technology has worked since Ug first realised he could throw a rock. It's all about developing a lead in one area, keeping said lead for as long as possible, all the while working on the next advance because that lead will be "countermeasured" at some stage.

  6. sreynolds Silver badge

    Drones delivering explosives...

    Is this an amazon thing?

    1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C
      Mushroom

      Re: Drones delivering explosives...

      Amazon Primed

  7. Shez

    Do hoverflies get stoned?

    Just wondering after seeing the hoverfly in the video flying round what looked like a cannabis plant.

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