Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fishy sixth sense could help robots navigate the oceans

24.06.2002


Taking their cue from fish, scientists in the US have built a navigational aid that will help robots and remote sensors find their way around the world`s vast oceans. The team describes its research today in the Institute of Physics publication Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.



Fish and many amphibian animals find their way through even the murkiest of waters, navigate raging torrents and spot obstacles, predators and prey using a sensory organ known as the lateral line system. Sometimes known as the fish`s sixth sense, the lateral line is a system of thousands of tiny hair cells that run the length of the fish`s body. The lateral line responds to fluid flow around the fish and allows it to detect obstacles and sense the movement of water even in complete darkness.

Now, electrical engineer Chang Liu, entomologist Fred Delcomyn and their colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA have developed an artificial lateral line that could give underwater vehicles and robots a sixth sense. Robots equipped with the lateral line system will be able to navigate and feel in water.


The artificial lateral line was built by micromachining a sliver of silicon so that three-dimensional hairlike structures are formed on its surface. The hair cells in a fish`s lateral line are each connected to a nerve cell and, by analogy, Liu and Delcomyn have connected each of their silicon hairs via a micro-hinge to an electronic sensor. When the artificial lateral line comes into contact with moving water, the silicon hairs are bent slightly depending on the rate of flow and the sensors detect the degree and direction of bending. A computer then interprets this movement to build up a picture of the flowing water, much as does the fish`s brain.

The artificial lateral line the researchers are developing has 100 silicon hairs per square millimetre. `This arrayed sensor will provide a unique fluid mechanics measurement tool,` says Liu, `We are collaborating with marine researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology to apply the sensors to autonomous underwater vehicles.` He adds that, `The lateral line sensor might also help marine biologists to understand better the functions of biological lateral line sensors.`

Dianne Stilwell | alfa

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht A laser for divers
03.05.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>