A Note on the Depth-from-Defocus Mechanism of Jumping Spiders

Biomimetics (Basel). 2017 Mar 14;2(1):3. doi: 10.3390/biomimetics2010003.


Jumping spiders are capable of estimating the distance to their prey relying only on the information from one of their main eyes. Recently, it has been shown that jumping spiders perform this estimation based on image defocus cues. In order to gain insight into the mechanisms involved in this blur-to-distance mapping as performed by the spider and to judge whether inspirations can be drawn from spider vision for depth-from-defocus computer vision algorithms, we constructed a three-dimensional (3D) model of the anterior median eye of the Metaphidippus aeneolus, a well studied species of jumping spider. We were able to study images of the environment as the spider would see them and to measure the performances of a well known depth-from-defocus algorithm on this dataset. We found that the algorithm performs best when using images that are averaged over the considerable thickness of the spider's receptor layers, thus pointing towards a possible functional role of the receptor thickness for the spider's depth estimation capabilities.

Keywords: computer vision; depth estimation; depth-from-defocus; spider eye; spider vision.