COBBS – Flocking Experiment

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COBBS – Computer Vision and Tracking

The raw data gathered from the experimental work consists of three sequences of images, one from each camera, for each flocking/swarming event. Each sequence may consist of up to 2700 images, meaning a single event could have a total of 7100 images!! It would be impossible to process each event by hand in a timely manner. The solution is to apply various computer vision methods and algorithms to extract the required information, namely the position of each individual, from the images automatically.… Read the rest

COBBS – Non-biting Midge Experiment

Our search for midge swarms has taken us to many of the public parks within Rome including Riserva Naturale Valle dell’Aniene, Villa Paganini, Villa Torlonia, Parco dell’Acquedotto, Villa Ada, Laghetto dell’EUR and Ponte Tazio. Basically any place with an aquatic or semiaquatic habitat (the larval stage requires water for development) is where midges can be found. Our experimental setup is similar to that of the flocking experiment except that our baseline distance shrinks from 25 m down to approximately 5 – 8 m (depending on our distance to the swarm).… Read the rest

COBBS – Collective Behaviour in Biological Systems

From bird flocks to fish schools, from insect swarms to cell colonies, collective behaviour is a very widespread phenomenon in many biological systems. It is hard to define, but easy to recognize. What are the mechanisms regulating collective behaviour in biological systems?

In many cases collective behaviour is the result of local rules of interactions among the individuals, without any need of a centralized control.… Read the rest