17 May 2012

Fish lateral line for future robots and submarines

The lateral line is a hydrodynamic imaging system found in fish and aquatic amphibians which enables them to accomplish a variety of underwater activities such as localization of moving prey or predators, detection of stationary objects, schooling without colliding and social communication. It consists of numerous hair cell sensors called neuromasts which are distributed all over the fish body, with many of them situated on the surface of the skin and others in sub-epidermal canals.
Developed by Douglas Jones, from the University of Illinois, along with Chang Liu from Northwestern University, the artificial lateral line (ALL) consists of a 3-D system of biomimetic neuromasts (BNs) wrapped around a cylinder. A man-made lateral-line system can be indispensable for underwater vehicles and robots, enabling new methods of exploration, interaction and communication.

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