Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 16 (NIPS 2003)
We have designed and tested a single-chip analog VLSI sensor that detects imminent collisions by measuring radially expansive optic flow. The design of the chip is based on a model proposed to explain leg-extension behavior in flies during landing approaches. A new elementary motion detector (EMD) circuit was developed to measure optic flow. This EMD circuit models the bandpass nature of large monopolar cells (LMCs) immediately postsynaptic to photoreceptors in the fly visual system. A 16 × 16 array of 2-D motion detectors was fabricated on a 2.24 mm × 2.24 mm die in a standard 0.5-µm CMOS process. The chip consumes 140 µW of power from a 5 V supply. With the addition of wide-angle optics, the sensor is able to detect collisions around 500 ms before impact in complex, real-world scenes.