Why would scientists ever put a pair of 3-D glasses on a praying mantis? While the insect wasn’t given a popped kernel of corn to snack on, it was watching a 3-D movie of sorts.
Researchers at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom actually fashioned a pair of the world’s tiniest 3-D glasses, affixing them with beeswax (it’s natural), in order to figure out how the mantis sees in three dimensions to learn more about how this type of vision evolved.
The bespectacled mantis was put in front of a computer that generated 3-D images. As the images changed, scientists observed the insect’s reactions, like if it moved a certain way when the image appeared to shoot right at it.
“We can do this by fooling them into misjudging depth, in the same way that our brains are fooled when we watch a 3-D movie,” Dr. Vivek Nityananda said in a statement.
Researchers think their observations could lead to improvements in human vision and in robotics.
Watch the mantis react to the images while wearing the glasses: