The term active vision originated in computer vision and artificial intelligence where, when faced with the problem of designing a computer system capable of mimicking animal vision, researchers soon realised that this would require vast computational resources beyond the reach of current technology. In Neuroscience, we investigate the way that agents such as humans and great apes allocate vision (by measuring aspects of their eye movements and behaviour) during the performance of natural actions and complex visuomotor tasks. If the neural mechanisms that underlie vision only have access to finite resources, then by studying how vision is allocated during different tasks with varying demands we hope to provide an insight into the neural architecture of the brain.
To explore aspects of our gaze (head + eye) in complex environments we use video based, portable eye tracking devices (dark pupil) and video cameras. Some theories of eye movement control suggest gaze is drawn to "salient' areas of the visual scene. We find that this is not always the case in the real world. Aspects of the task determine where the eye will be directed to obtain task-specific information.
We are particularly interested in predictive movements of gaze to areas or objects in the environment that will be relevant in the future. What benefits these fast movements offer ─ whether it is for action or for perception, is a goal of this research group.
In Malaysia, Dr. Mennie’s research is supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, where he has been the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on Fundamental Research Grant Schemes (FRGS) and Experimental Research Grant Schemes (ERGS). He is also a grant holder of the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) eScience fund, and has received research funding from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. He is also working with the approval of the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan).