Event-based sensing, i.e., the asynchronous detection of luminance changes, promises low-energy, high dynamic range, and sparse sensing. This stands in contrast to whole image frame-wise acquisition by standard cameras. Here, we systematically investigate the implications of event-based sensing in the context of visual motion, or flow, estimation. Starting from a common theoretical foundation, we discuss different principal approaches for optical flow detection ranging from gradient-based methods over plane-fitting to filter based methods and identify strengths and weaknesses of each class. Gradient-based methods for local motion integration are shown to suffer from the sparse encoding in address-event representations (AER). Approaches exploiting the local plane like structure of the event cloud, on the other hand, are shown to be well suited. Within this class, filter based approaches are shown to define a proper detection scheme which can also deal with the problem of representing multiple motions at a single location (motion transparency). A novel biologically inspired efficient motion detector is proposed, analyzed and experimentally validated. Furthermore, a stage of surround normalization is incorporated. Together with the filtering this defines a canonical circuit for motion feature detection. The theoretical analysis shows that such an integrated circuit reduces motion ambiguity in addition to decorrelating the representation of motion related activations.