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Further Enquiries

North Terrace Campus

Room 3.39
Ingkarni Wardli Building, Level 3
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Adelaide, SA 5005, AUSTRALIA

Telephone: +61 8 8313 4198 (Director)
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 4360


Welcome to the Adelaide Insect Vision Group

Who We Are

What We Do

Contact Information



Who We Are

A/Prof. David C. O'Carroll Electrophysiological recordings from insect neurons that detect and track moving targets and features. Biomimetic modeling/algorithm development based on insect visual neurobiology. Neuromorphic analog VLSI.
Prof. Derek Abbott Artificial insect vision using neuron-MOS, VLSI circuit techniques. Applications of stochastic resonance. Neural models in the presence of noise. Millimetre-wave detection.
Emeritus Prof. R.E. Bogner Sensor signal processing, pattern recognition (including adaptive pattern recognition), data fusion and visual sensing.  Principles of artificial and real neural networks. Prof. Bogner founded the group back in 1991.
Dr. Said Al-Sarawi Analog VLSI design using standard CMOS and GaAs technologies, analog design techniques using neuron-MOS (vMOS) transistors. Neuromorphic circuits applicable to insect vision.
Dr. Karin Nordstrom Electrophysiology and morphology of neurons in the visual system of insects, primarily of neurons for moving target and motion detection in flies and dragonflies

Associated University Centres

Members of both the Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CBME) and Centre for High Performance Integrated & Technologies and Systems (CHiPTec) are part of the Adelaide Insect Vision Group. This multidisciplinary teamwork overlaps the disciplines of these two centres of excellence.


  • Peter Celinski (Compact VLSI circuits for smart sensors)
  • Leonard Hall (Millimetre-wave front-end detection)
  • Leo Lee (Insect vision chip VLSI design)
  • Mark McDonnell (Insect neural model stochastic signal processing)
  • Sreeja Rajesh (Insect vision algorithms)
  • Andrew Straw (Insect neural physiology)
  • Eng Mah (Analog circuits for motion detectors)

Alumni Postgraduates

  • Dr Thong Nguyen, got his PhD and is now at DSTO, Australia
  • Dr Andre Yakovleff, got his PhD and is now at DSTO, Australia
  • Dr Greg Harmer, got his PhD and is now at Sensor Research Development (SRD), Maine, USA
  • Dr Ali Moini, got his PhD and was at Intelligent pixels, Perth, Australia, but is now at Silverbrook, Sydney. 
  • Dr Ook Kim from Seoul National University. Visitor in 1992-1993. Now at Silicon Image, Sunnyvale. 
  • Dr Gyudong Kim (Chilly) from Seoul National University. Visitor in 1994. Now at Silicon Image, Sunnyvale. 
  • Dr Andrew Blanksby, got his PhD and was working at Lucent, but is now at Gnome Electronicxs P/L, Adelaide. 
  • Dr Richard Beare, got his PhD and is now working at the CMIS group at CSIRO in Sydney 

Alumni Academics


What We Do

Conventional vision systems based on mathematical algorithms tend to become very complicated and their hardware implementation requires no less than powerful main-frame computers to run in real time. Biological models of the insect visual system, however, suggest simpler solutions for constrained tasks, like motion detection. Insects are a model system because they display sophisticated flight control and yet are simple enough that we have been able to deduce a great deal about the underlying neural circuitry used for such tasks, using physiological techniques. The insect vision group at the University of Adelaide uses a truly cross-disciplinary approach to transfer ideas derived from studying insect physiology and behaviour to robust models in software and hardware.

This program is a world-first in that it seeks to combine a number of important areas:

  • insect neurophysiological experiments to form accurate models,
  • algorithm development
  • hardware implementation of algorithms (primarily in analog VLSI)
  • study of stochastic resonance to improve neural models,
  • algorithm extension to colour vision to exploit redundancy/error checking
  • implementation with millimetre-wave front end for all-weather outdoor performance.

On the VLSI side we have developed novel circuits for early visual processing. A few to be mentioned are:

  • a current mode spatial averaing (CMSA)
  • a multiplicative noise cancellation (MNC) circuit
  • a wide dynamic range current mode fusing resistive circuit
  • a very low (10^-11 Siemens) transconductive element based on the Early effect

In many of these cases we have exploited subthreshold circuits, mainly to use the exponential relationship of the current-voltage and also to reduce the power dissipation. Our new patented approach uses an active impedance transformation to convert a voltage controlled grounded resistor into a floating resistor.

A major focus of our present work is the task of motion detection, for analysis of optic flow and estimation of the speed of moving targets and features. We have designed and implemented a series of analog VLSI chips based on an insect-inspired motion detection algorithm, the template model. Since the first chip (Bugeye I in 1992), we have designed several other chips, namely, Bugeye II, Bugeye III-1, Bugeye III-2, Bugeye IV, MNCSI (the first full implementation of shunting inhibition), and Bugeye V. We have used various processes from 2.0 to 0.8u for fabrication, all from MOSIS (simply because it is the best hassle free fabrication service, though a bit more expensive than some other options). In collaboration with Tanner Research Inc. in the USA, we are now developing new implementations based on an adaptive elaborated Reichardt model for a correlation-based motion detector, using the silicon on sapphire (SOS) process.

Our funding sources: Australian Research Council (ARC), Tanner Research Inc., US Airforce Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund, University of Adelaide, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).


Contact Information

Prof. Derek Abbott

School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, 
University of Adelaide 
SA 5005, Australia. 
Tel: +61-8-8303 5748 
Fax: +61-8-8303 4360 

A/Prof. David O'Carroll

Department of Physiology & School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering 
University of Adelaide 
SA 5005, Australia. 
Tel: +61-8-8303 4435 
Fax: +61-8-8303 3356 

 Comments or suggestions may be sent by email to: A/Prof David O'Carroll