Capturing Flying Insects: A Machine Learning Approach to Targeting

A small insect darts from the security of the branch upon which it sits. It flutters through the leaves providing cover, revealing itself for a fleeting moment to the area just beyond leafy cover. Flying erratically, the insect believes it is safe for the brief moment of exposure — and it would be, from most animals. In that same fleeting moment, a nearby brown bat flies in and eats it. The bat’s ability to “detect, localize, and capture its prey” demonstrates an evolution from how most animals capture prey through constant bearing (same heading and velocity) to a method that succeeds in catching insects flying inconsistent patterns. Failure to adapt would result in extinction, so the bat uses sonar to improve its ability to see, track, and engage its prey.…


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