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Faculty|Graduate Neuroscience Program

 Faculty Picture

Steven F. Barrett






The early vision system of insects as well as many higher level organisms exhibit interesting phenomena and features such as analog preprocessing, parallel structure, and sub-pixel resolution. Early vision is defined as the vision processes that occur within the first few cellular synapses beyond the photoreceptor layer. These features allow for the rapid extraction of image primitives: object edges, boundaries, image segmentation, and movement parameters.

                 Click here to visit WISPR Laboratories website.

We propose a new approach to the challenge of vision sensor development which takes its inspiration from the obvious success of biological vision systems. This project will use a similar evolutionary, system-level development that has resulted in robust, adaptable vision for so many biological organisms. In this biologically-based systems approach, the sensor (the "eye") and the computational subsystem (the "visual cortex") will be developed together. The sensor design and the computational algorithm design will be made to evolve together as a synergistic, mutually optimized pair; we believe this will greatly increase the probability that successful computer vision will be achieved for a wide variety of medical applications.

Our laboratory is investigating fly-inspired vision sensors via electrophysiology of the common housefly, modeling of the fly's vision processing, modeling of sensors based on the fly's vision system, and prototyping of physical sensors.



  • B.S. Electronic Engineering Technology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1979

  • M.E. Electrical Engineering, University of Idaho at Moscow, 1986

  • Ph.D. Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 1993

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital and Analog Image Processing, Biomimetic Vision, Embedded Controllers

Most Recent Work

  • "Microcontroller Programming and Interfacing: Texas Instruments MSP430," Daniel Pack and Steven Barrett, Morgan-Claypool Publishers, available June 2011

  • "Arduino Microcontroller: Processing for Everyone," Steven Barrett, Morgan-Claypool Publishers, 2010.

  • "Embedded Systems Design with the Atmel AVR," Steven Barrett, Morgan-Claypool Publishers, 2010.

  • "Microcontroller Theory and Application: HC12 and S12," 2nd ed., Daniel Pack and Steven Barrett, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008.

  • "Atmel AVR Microcontroller Primer: Programming and Interfacing," Steven Barrett and Daniel Pack, Morgan-Claypool Publishers, 2008.

  • "Microcontroller Fundamentals for Engineers and Scientists." Steven Barrett and Daniel Pack, Morgan-Claypool Pulbishers, 2006.

  • "Embedded Systems Design and Applications with the 68HC12 and HCS12," Steven Barrett and Daniel Pack, Prentice-Hall, 2005.

    • Also released in China (2006) and India (2008) edition.

  • "68HC12 Microcontroller: Theory and Application," Daniel Pack and Steven Barrett, Prentice-Hall, 2002.


  • National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Engineering Education Excellence Award, 2008.

  • President's Award, Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium, Inc., 2007.

  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Wyoming Professor of the Year, 2004.

  • John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, University of Wyoming, 2004

Research Areas

  • Biomimetics - Modeling the L4 Neuron of the Fly (Musca Domestica) Vision System, project to develop a parallel, analog electronics-based vision system.   (WYO Article) 

  • Funded by the National Science Foundation's Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Systems to establish a program to assist individuals with disabilities.  The purpose of the program is to provide a meaningful design experience for University of Wyoming, College of Engineering students that will directly aid individuals with disabilities in the state of Wyoming.

  • Retinal photocoagulation system for the clinical treatment of retinal disorders (i.e. diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears).  The computer-assisted system under development can rapidly tears).  The computer-assisted system under development can rapidly and safely place multiple therapeutic lesions at desired locations on the retina in a matter of seconds.  Separate low-speed prototype subsystems have been developed to control lesion depth dynamically during irradiation and to control lesion placement while compensating for retinal movement. 

  • Embedded Controllers - Wall Following Robot.  This project concentrates on using the Motorola HC12 embedded controller to guide a Wall Following Robot through an unknown maze.  The robot navigates through an unknown maze detecting walls using infra-red sensors and "land mines" (magnets) in the maze floor.  This project will be used as a class laboratory project in an embedded controller class to teach complex embedded systems concepts.

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