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 Harder 3D-printed tools – Researchers from Dresden introduce new process for hardmetal industry
11.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme IKTS

nachricht Flying High with VCSEL Heating
04.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>