Researchers at Sandia National Laboratory (USA), led by neuroscientist Francis Chance, are studying the possibility of using the brain of a dragonfly to improve the effectiveness of missile defense.
Dragonflies are one of the most ancient earthly creatures. They are about 325 million years old. By nature, they are predators and great hunters. If the dragonfly has outlined a victim for itself, then in 95 cases out of 100 the hunt will be completed successfully.
The insect's main weapon is not its paws and powerful jaws, but its brain. At first glance, it seems simple and even primitive. But in fact, this is a unique high-speed computer capable of performing complex calculations in a split second while chasing prey. The dragonfly instantly calculates and adjusts the course of interception and the point of meeting with the victim.
With the help of reverse engineering, the scientists were able to mimic the behavior and work of the insect's brain with great accuracy. The flying hunter reacts to his prey at a speed of 50 ms, or six times faster than the blink rate of a human eye. During this time, the signal passes through only three neurons - that is, each calculation of the dragonfly consists of only three steps.
Unlike dragonflies, missile defense systems use much greater computing power to solve similar problems. Using the brain of an insect as a model, it will be possible to create smaller, less power-hungry and significantly more efficient computers for intercepting targets.
Researchers acknowledge that there are fundamental differences between dragonflies and rockets. One of them is speed. Nevertheless, even if the "dragonfly" know-how is not useful in missile defense, they will most likely find application in AI and applications - in particular, in unmanned vehicles and drug testing systems.