Insects tend to detect motion rather than images and this together with inherent parallelism in their visual architecture, leads to an efficient and compact means of collision avoidance. A VLSI implementation of a smart microsensor that mimics the early visual processing stage in insects has been developed. The system employs the 'smart sensor' paradigm in that the detectors and processing circuitry are integrated on one chip. The IC is ideal for motion detectors, particularly collision avoidance tasks, as it essentially detects the speed, bearing and time-to-impact of a moving object. The Horridge model for insect vision has been directly mapped into VLSI and therefore the IC truly exploits the beauty of nature in that the insect eye is so compact with parallel processing, enabling compact motion detection without the computational overhead of intensive imaging, full image extraction and interpretation. This world-first has exciting applications in areas such as anti- collision for automobiles and autonomous robots. ©2004 Copyright SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.