This single still is from the widescreen version of ?Matriculated?, one of the Animatrix animated shorts. It has been considerably scaled back from the original material.
A close up of the sensor heads of the two 'runner' autonomous hunter robots, which we established in the previous Matrixulated still, were perfectly designed for their purpose.
Now, we take a look at the sensor heads. In a world that is eternally cold, wracked by lightning flashes, utterly dead, or devoid of life, the choice seems clear. Infra-red heat detection is by and large the choice of the day, but it is not the only choice.
Therei s a great deal of complexity in those lenses, and the way they can focus in on individual details is obvious. However, they are also far too big and bulky for their purpose, even with our current technology. So, what is the rest of the space for?
Well, as the scene progresses, it becomes clear that the robots too, have a sort of augmented reality, able to overlay other data on their normal vision. Placing it close to the vision sensors just makes sense. It frees up other areas of the body for other purposes, and if the sensors get destroyed, the vision augmenting GPUs are not going to be of much use anyway. Plus, it shaves picoseconds from the response time.
The machines demonstrate the ability for extrapolation using them. An AR display on top of their vision, at one point allows them to extrapolate where their human prey has gone, even though she is no-longer visible. It shows her shape running down the far side of a completely obscuring hill, and up part of the next one.
Link: Animatrix: Matriculated