Scientists from Britain and Japan explained the mechanism that allows mosquitoes to detect obstacles using vision. The experiments showed that probably is responsible for the mechanoreceptors in the antennae, able to detect in the created wings air flow changes that cause nearby objects. Researchers have proposed to use a similar principle in drones and gathered quadcopter, capable of detecting changes in air flow around itself with the help of pressure sensors. Article published in the journal Science.
Animals used to determine the obstacles around the many different ways, often much more complex than sight. For example, a widely known method of navigation used by bats: they emit ultrasonic signals and record their reflections from objects. This provides bats with the opportunity not to depend on the lighting and fly in complete darkness, in contrast to many other species.
Studies showthat mosquitoes are also able to avoid obstacles without the use of visual stimuli, but only at a distance of several centimeters. A group of scientists under the leadership of Richard Bommi (Richard Bomphrey) from the Royal veterinary College in London suggested that the limitation on distance due to the mechanism based on the detected distortion of the air flow in the vicinity.
In order to understand the distribution of the air flow from the wings and how surrounding objects distort them, the researchers created a model of a mosquito and with the help of hydrodynamic simulations obtained data on the behavior of threads at different distances from a flat surface. Building maps of pressure distribution around a mosquito they saw that under the thoracic part of the mosquito is a large area with maximum pressure. But beyond it they found a second area with a maximum of pressure is located above the head including the area of the antennae.