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New optical-illusion-sensing AI could be used to train pilots

written by David Hollingworth | February 8, 2024

The CAE 3000-based AW139 simulator. (Image: Paul Sadler)

A new neural network that can recognise optical illusions may have applications in pilot training, according to a researcher at Charles Sturt University.

Dr Ivan Maksymov, principal research fellow, physics and machine learning lead in the Charles Sturt Artificial Intelligence and Cyber Futures Institute, revealed his work in a paper entitled Quantum-Inspired Neural Network Model of Optical Illusions.

Dr Maksymov’s work has trained a neural network to recognise optical illusions, such as the ambiguous Necker cube. Dr Maksymov believes his network could be used in various applications, including psychology and psychiatry, as well as pilot training.

“It can also be used to train pilots, astronauts, and operators of drones,” Dr Maksymov said in a statement.

“Optical illusions can significantly affect a pilot’s ability to fly safely, and every pilot should be prepared to handle them.”


While the neural network remains a work in progress, Dr Maksymov believes it could be put to use at the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA) at Wagga Wagga, which Rex opened in 2010.

“This same Neural Network Model could be advantageous for psychologists, behavioural scientists, vision scientists, machine learning experts, developers of virtual reality systems and video games, as well as by trainers of astronauts,” Dr Maksymov said.

Dr Maksymov does note that while his methods make use of quantum processes, he is not suggesting that such processes occur in the human brain. However, using “a quantum-like mathematical description” is a useful way to understand how the brain works.

“Collecting data and studying the brain is complex and takes time,” Dr Maksymov said. “For example, I completed this paper over two weeks; for a behavioural scientist to do this might take years.

“The ability to conduct this form of research is presently unique and very valuable.”

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