The prospect of emulating the impressive computational capabilities of biological systems has led to considerable interest in the design of analog circuits that are potentially implementable in very large scale integration CMOS technology and are guided by biologically motivated models. For example, simple image processing tasks, such as the detection of edges in binary and grayscale images, have been performed by networks of FitzHugh-Nagumo-type neurons using the reaction-diffusion models. However, in these studies, the one-to-one mapping of image pixels to component neurons makes the size of the network a critical factor in any such implementation. In this paper, we develop a simplified version of the employed reaction-diffusion model in three steps. In the first step, we perform a detailed study to locate this threshold using continuous Lyapunov exponents from dynamical system theory. Furthermore, we render the diffusion in the system to be anisotropic, with the degree of anisotropy being set by the gradients of grayscale values in each image. The final step involves a simplification of the model that is achieved by eliminating the terms that couple the membrane potentials of adjacent neurons. We apply our technique to detect edges in data sets of artificially generated and real images, and we demonstrate that the performance is as good if not better than that of the previous methods without increasing the size of the network
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