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Dr Steven Wiederman

Steven Wiederman
Senior Lecturer
Adelaide Medical School
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Dr Steven Wiederman.
Senior Lecturer

In the Visual Physiology and Neurobotics Laboratory (VPNL), we study how the brain processes visual information. Consider a human catching a ball, a dog leaping at a Frisbee or a dragonfly hunting prey amidst a swarm. Brains large and small evolved the ability to predictively, focus attention on a moving target, whilst ignoring distracters and background clutter. We use electrophysiological techniques to investigate how flying insects see the world and build autonomous robots that emulate these neuronal principles.

We investigate visual processing from behavioural, computational and physiological levels, with a multidisciplinary team covering fields of neuroethology, neurobiology, psychology, computer vision and engineering.

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Dr Steven Wiederman

Dr Steven Wiederman.
Senior Lecturer

In the Visual Physiology and Neurobotics Laboratory (VPNL), we study how the brain processes visual information. Consider a human catching a ball, a dog leaping at a Frisbee or a dragonfly hunting prey amidst a swarm. Brains large and small evolved the ability to predictively, focus attention on a moving target, whilst ignoring distracters and background clutter. We use electrophysiological techniques to investigate how flying insects see the world and build autonomous robots that emulate these neuronal principles.

We investigate visual processing from behavioural, computational and physiological levels, with a multidisciplinary team covering fields of neuroethology, neurobiology, psychology, computer vision and engineering.

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD — email supervisor to discuss availability.

Lab LogoIn the Visual Physiology and Neurobotics Laboratory (VPNL), we study how the brain processes visual information. Consider a human catching a ball, a dog leaping at a Frisbee or a dragonfly hunting prey amidst a swarm. Brains large and small evolved the ability to predictively, focus attention on a moving target, whilst ignoring distracters and background clutter. We use electrophysiological techniques to investigate how flying insects see the world and build autonomous robots that emulate these neuronal principles. 

We investigate visual processing from behavioural, computational and physiological levels, with a multidisciplinary team covering fields of neuroethology, neurobiology, psychology, computer vision and engineering.

Brain size(1) Capture behavioral data with arrays of medium-speed video cameras.
(2) Use intracellular, recording techniques to characterize neuronal physiology.
(3) Use dye-filling to examine underlying neuronal architecture.
(4) Develop computational models that mimic complex biological behavior.
(5) Design autonomous robots based on bio-inspired sensory and control processes.

Insects have evolved a relatively simple and efficient solution to a task that challenges the most sophisticated robotic vision systems – the detection, selection and pursuit of moving features in cluttered environments. 

modelsWe study a set of neurons from the brain of insects that achieve this visual target-detection task in spectacular fashion. Our most recent work suggests that the insects use sophisticated mechanisms of attention similar to those in primates, to aid in the selection of one feature even in the presence of distracters (e.g. feeding in a swarm). Combining electrophysiological experiments with computational modeling permits us to address research questions, such as:
How do dragonfly target-detecting neurons discriminate moving targets amidst visual clutter whilst in closed-loop pursuit?
How do neuronal responses enable ‘prediction coding’ (estimating target trajectories) and ‘selective attention’ (selecting one target amidst distracters)?

HTauNeurobotics: The physiological data obtained in our laboratory feeds into our robotics projects, as we implement neuronal processing onto an autonomous platform. This research involves computational modelling or hardware development, and is therefore suited to those with mathematical or engineering backgrounds. We work with collaborators in both Mechanical Engineering and Computer Vision on jointly supervised projects. 

 

Nanoscale Biophotonics: We are investigating the in vivo application of fluorescent nanoparticles for the purpose of recording neuronal function in behaving organisms. This research combines life and physical sciences as we explore properties of the nanoparticles, the tapering of optical fibers and their interaction with nervous tissue. This project is part of the ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics and is in collaboration with the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).

Media Links:
Wall Street Journal, Scientists Tap Dragonfly Vision to Build a Better Bionic Eye
New York Times, Nature’s Drone, Pretty and Deadly
Science Daily, Dragonflies have human-like 'selective attention'
 

 

Appointments

Date Position Institution name
2016 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
2014 - 2015 Lecturer University of Adelaide
2013 - 2014 ARC Senior Research Associate University of Adelaide
2011 - 2012 Postdoctoral Researcher University of Adelaide
2009 - 2011 Associate Lecturer University of Adelaide

Education

Date Institution name Country Title
2006 - 2007 University of Adelaide Australia Graduate Certificate In Education (Higher Ed)
2005 University of Technology, Sydney Australia Bachelor of Engineering (Comp Sys) 1st Class Hons
2005 University of Technology, Sydney Australia Bachelor of Medical Sciences
2005 - 2008 University of Adelaide Australia PhD

Postgraduate Training

Date Title Institution Country
2015 - 2017 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award University of Adelaide Australia

Research Interests

Journals

Year Citation
2017 Bagheri, Z., Wiederman, S., Cazzolato, B., Grainger, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2017). Performance of an insect-inspired target tracker in natural conditions. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 12(2), 025006-1-025006-16.
DOI Scopus4 WoS2
2017 Rigosi, E., Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2017). Visual acuity of the honey bee retina and the limits for feature detection. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 7 pages.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2 Europe PMC2
2017 Bagheri, Z., Cazzolato, B., Grainger, S., O'Carroll, D., & Wiederman, S. (2017). An autonomous robot inspired by insect neurophysiology pursues moving features in natural environments. Journal of Neural Engineering, 14(4), 046030-1-046030-15.
DOI Scopus4 WoS2 Europe PMC1
2017 Wiederman, S., Fabian, J., Dunbier, J., & O Carroll, D. (2017). A predictive focus of gain modulation encodes target trajectories in insect vision. eLife, 6, 19 pages.
DOI Scopus6 WoS4 Europe PMC3
2017 Rigosi, E., Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2017). Photoreceptor signalling is sufficient to explain the detectability threshold of insect aerial pursuers. Journal of Experimental Biology, 220(23), 4364-4369.
DOI
2015 Bagheri, Z., Wiederman, S., Cazzolato, B., Grainger, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2015). Properties of neuronal facilitation that improve target tracking in natural pursuit simulations. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 12(108), 20150083-1-20150083-13.
DOI Scopus4 WoS3
2014 O'Carroll, D., & Wiederman, S. (2014). Contrast sensitivity and the detection of moving patterns and features. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 369(1636), 20130043-1-20130043-10.
DOI Scopus23 WoS22 Europe PMC13
2013 David, O., & Steven, W. (2013). Contrast sensitivity and spatial inhibition in insect small target motion detectors. Frontiers in Physiology, 4.
DOI
2013 Steven, W., James, D., & David, O. (2013). Selective attention in the dragonfly. Frontiers in Physiology, 4.
DOI
2013 James, D., Steven, W., & David, O. (2013). Mapping predictive facilitation in a dragonfly target neuron. Frontiers in Physiology, 4.
DOI
2013 Liliana, C., Steven, W., & David, O. (2013). Retinal movements in the blowfly Calliphora Stygia. Frontiers in Physiology, 4.
DOI
2013 Wiederman, S. D., & O’Carroll, D. C. (2013). Biologically inspired feature detection using cascaded correlations of off and on channels. Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing Research, 3(1), 5-14.
DOI
2013 Wiederman, S., Shoemaker, P., & O'Carroll, D. (2013). Correlation between OFF and ON channels underlies dark target selectivity in an insect visual system. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(32), 13225-13232.
DOI Scopus20 WoS18 Europe PMC7
2013 Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2013). Selective attention in an insect visual neuron. Current Biology, 23(2), 156-161.
DOI Scopus33 WoS34 Europe PMC13
2012 Dunbier, J., Wiederman, S., Shoemaker, P., & O'Carroll, D. (2012). Facilitation of dragonfly target-detecting neurons by slow moving features on continuous paths. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 6(OCTOBER 2012), 1-29.
DOI Scopus19 WoS17 Europe PMC6
2012 Horton, D., Wiederman, S., & Saint, D. (2012). Assessment outcome is weakly correlated with lecture attendance: influence of learning style and use of alternative materials. Advances in Physiology Education, 36(2), 108-115.
DOI Scopus27 WoS20 Europe PMC18
2011 Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2011). Discrimination of features in natural scenes by a dragonfly neuron. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(19), 7141-7144.
DOI Scopus19 WoS18 Europe PMC8
2010 Wiederman, S., Brinkworth, R., & O'Carroll, D. (2010). Performance of a bio-inspired model for the robust detection of moving targets in high dynamic range natural scenes. Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience, 7(5 Sp Iss), 911-920.
DOI Scopus12 WoS9
2008 Wiederman, S., Shoemaker, P., & O'Carroll, D. (2008). A model for the detection of moving targets in visual clutter inspired by insect physiology. PLoS One, 3(7), 1-11.
DOI Scopus56 WoS41 Europe PMC19

Book Chapters

Conference Papers

Year Citation
2017 Bekkouche, B., Shoemaker, P., Fabian, J., Rigosi, E., Wiederman, S., & O Carroll, D. (2017). Multicompartment simulations of NMDA receptor based facilitation in an insect target tracking neuron. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) Vol. 10613 LNCS (pp. 397-404).
DOI
2016 Evans, B., O'Carroll, D., & Wiederman, S. (2016). Salience invariance with divisive normalization in higher-order insect neurons. In A. Beghdadi, S. Bourennane, A. Bouzerdoum, M. Pedersen, L. Oudre, & R. Jiang (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2016 6th European Workshop on Visual Information Processing (pp. 1-6). Marseille, France: IEEE.
DOI Scopus1
2015 Bagheri, Z., Wiederman, S., Cazzolato, B., Grainger, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2015). Robustness and Real-Time Performance of an Insect Inspired Target Tracking Algorithm Under Natural Conditions. In Proceedings - 2015 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, SSCI 2015 (pp. 97-102). Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA: IEEE.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
2015 Evans, B., Parslow, B., O'Carroll, D., & Wiederman, S. (2015). Quantifying asynchrony of multiple cameras using aliased optical devices. In R. Jennane (Ed.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Image Processing, Theory, Tools and Applications (pp. 567-572). Orleans, France: IEEE.
DOI Scopus2 WoS1
2015 Parslow, B., Evans, B., O'Carroll, D., & Wiederman, S. (2015). Multi-focal video fusion with a beam splitter prism. In R. Jennane (Ed.), 5th International Conference on Image Processing, Theory, Tools and Applications 2015, IPTA 2015 (pp. 556-560). Orleans, France: IEEE.
DOI Scopus1 WoS1
2014 Bagheri, Z., Wiederman, S., Cazzolato, B., Grainger, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2014). A biologically inspired facilitation mechanism enhances the detection and pursuit of targets of varying contrast. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications (DICTA 2014) (pp. 1-5). Wollongong, NSW: IEEE.
DOI Scopus4
2014 Bagheri., Wiederman., Cazzolato, B., Grainger., & O'Carroll. (2014). Performance assessment of an insect-inspired target tracking model in background clutter. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision, ICARCV 2014 (pp. 822-826). Singapore: IEEE.
DOI Scopus3 WoS2
2014 Bagheri., Cazzolato, B. S., wiederman., grainger., & O'Carrol. (2014). An insect inspired object tracking mechanism for autonomous vehicles. In 11th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO) (pp. 30-38). Vienna, Austria: SCITEPRESS, Science and Technology Publications.
2013 Halupka, K., Wiederman, S., Cazzolato, B., & O'Carroll, D. (2013). Bio-inspired feature extraction and enhancement of targets moving against visual clutter during closed loop pursuit. In Proceedings of the 2013 20th IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, ICIP 2013 (pp. 4098-4102). online: IEEE.
DOI Scopus5 WoS3
2013 Shoemaker, P., Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2013). Can a competitive neural network explain selective attention in insect target tracking neurons?. In 6th Annual International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering San Diego, California, 6 - 8 November, 2013 (pp. 903-906). USA: IEEE.
DOI
2013 Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2013). Biomimetic target detection: modeling 2nd order correlation of OFF and ON channels. In Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence for Multimedia, Signal and Vision Processing, CIMSIVP 2013 - 2013 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, SSCI 2013 (pp. 16-21). USA: IEEE.
DOI Scopus7 WoS2
2011 Wiederman, S., Dunbier, J., & O'Carroll, D. (2011). Modeling inhibitory interactions shaping neural responses of target neurons to multiple features. In Proceedings of the 2011 7th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, ISSNIP 2011 (pp. 73-78). USA: IEEE.
DOI
2011 Dunbier, J., Wiederman, S., Shoemaker, P., & O'Carroll, D. (2011). Modelling the temporal response properties of an insect small target motion detector. In Proceedings of the 2011 7th International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, ISSNIP 2011 (pp. 125-130). USA: IEEE.
DOI Scopus10
2011 Halupka, K., Wiederman, S., Cazzolato, B., & O'Carroll, D. (2011). Discrete implementation of biologically inspired image processing for target detection. In Proceedings of ISSNIP 2011 (pp. 143-148). USA: IEEE.
DOI Scopus7
2010 Horton, D., Wiederman, S., & Saint, D. (2010). Lecture attendance, learning style and assessment outcome in physiology students. In The Education Research Group of Adelaid (pp. The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010). Adelaide, Australia: The University of Adelaide.
2010 Wiederman, S., & O'Carroll, D. (2010). Computational modeling of inhibitory interactions underlying neural mechanisms for target discrimination. In Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Image Processing, Computer Vision, and Pattern Recognition, IPCV 2010 Vol. 2 (pp. 841-845).
2008 Wiederman, S., Brinkworth, R., & O'Carroll, D. (2008). Bio-inspired small target discrimination in high dynamic range natural scenes. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Bio-Inspired Computing: Theory and Applications (BIC-TA 2008) (pp. 109-116). USA: IEEE.
DOI Scopus5 WoS4
2008 Wiederman, S., Brinkworth, R., & O'Carroll, D. (2008). Bio-inspired target detection in natural scenes: Optimal thresholds and ego-motion. In S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering Vol. 7035 (pp. 1-11). Bellingham, Wa, USA: S P I E - International Society for Optical Engineering.
DOI Scopus2 WoS2
2007 Wiederman, S., Shoemaker, P., & O'Carroll, D. (2007). Biological inspired small target detection mechanisms. In M. Palaniswami (Ed.), Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information,2007 (pp. 269-274). Melbourne: Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information 2007.
DOI Scopus5 WoS4

Conference Items

Year Citation
2013 Kerry, H., Steven, W., Benjamin, C., & David, O. (2013). Local facilitation improves success in closed loop simulations of insect small target pursuit. Poster session presented at the meeting of Frontiers in Physiology.
DOI

Report for External Bodies

Year Citation
2013 O'Carroll, D. C., Wiederman, S. D., & Shoemaker, P. A. (2013). Mechanisms for Visual Detection of Small Targets in Insects (ADA595006). Defence Technical Information Center.

Theses

Year Citation
2009 Wiederman, S. (2009). A neurobiological and computational analysis of target discrimination in visual clutter by the insect visual system. (PhD Thesis, The University of Adelaide).
Wiederman, S. (n.d.). Wiederman SD, PhD Thesis.
DOI

Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award ($359,000), 2015-2017
School of Medical Sciences Kick-Start Awards ($41,000), 2014, 2015
Team Leader, Interdisciplinary Research Funds, The University of Adelaide ($29,000), 2013
Co-CI, Strategic Research Funds from the School of Medical Sciences ($16,500), 2012
Faculty of Health Sciences, International Conference Award ($2400)
3 x Windows on Science (WoS) travel grants from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (USD$3800), 2008; 2010; 2016
Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ARC Node) Project Grant ($2200), 2007

Current Teaching
Course Coordinator, Cellular & Systems Neurobiology
Lecturer in Sensory Systems in the 3rd Year Course Cellular & System Neurobiology
Lecturer in Statistcs & Data Analysis in the 2nd Year Course Experimental Research in Health Sciences (Advanced)
 

Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2018 Co-Supervisor Fabrication of Microstructured Optical Fibre as Multifunctional Neural Probe Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Mengke Han
2018 Principal Supervisor Dragonfly Neurons Aided by Light Polarization Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Matthew Benjamin Schwarz
2017 Principal Supervisor Electrophysiological Investigation of Selective Attention in an Insect Target Detection Neuron Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Benjamin Horatio Lancer
2016 Principal Supervisor Development and Evaluation of Biologically Inspired Closed Loop Tracking and Pursuit Models using Simulink and Ground Based Robot Q Platform Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time John Vincent James
2016 Co-Supervisor Structure - Activity Relationships of small molecules and their effects on B Amylaid Fibrillisation of Toxicity Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Chen Gao
2015 Principal Supervisor Neuronal Encoding of Natural Imagery by Insect Feature Detection Pathways Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Bernard Evans

Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
2015 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Microelectrophoresis of Semiconductive Quantum Dots Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Mengke Han
2014 - 2017 Principal Supervisor A Neurobiological Investigation of Visual Target Detection and the Optic Lobe of Dragonflies Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Joseph Mahandas Fabian
2013 - 2017 Co-Supervisor An Insect-Inspired Target Tracking Mechanism for Autonomous Vehicles Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Zahra Bagheri
2010 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Facilitation in Dragonfly Target Motion Detecting Neurons Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr James Robert Dunbier
Position
Senior Lecturer
Phone
83134435
Fax
8313 4435
Campus
North Terrace
Building
Helen Mayo South, floor 4
Room Number
4 22
Org Unit
Medical Sciences

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