Image fusion is well known in nature as a means for rapid and robust interaction with the environment. Numerous animals are afforded image fusion through biological design. The motivation for machine image fusion has its origins in biologically inspired animal vision and human perception through neurological design. Although there are many available websites of prominent publications in science and engineering that describe biological image fusion, this chapter serves as a brief review to motivate readers. Many more detailed illustrations of biological sensors, neural pathways, and animal experiments are available from various researchers and websites as sources to further clarify the information in this chapter.
Animal examples include visual and IR fusion in snakes, polarization in mantis shrimp, and visual and ultraviolet (UV) in butterflies. Some animals, like elephants, are arrhythmic, which means that their vision changes with the time of day to respond to varying light levels. Likewise, the human brain has detailed mechanisms for binocular fusion, feature fusion, contextual-object-detection fusion, and movement fusion. For example, human fusion perception results in fovea/peripheral integration, illusions, and colorization. This chapter identifies motivating examples from nature and concludes with biological image fusion approaches, including center/surround and opponent processing with biologically inspired neural networks.