Researchers have developed artificial whiskers that allow robots to “see” the surroundings in dark and murky places by analysing the way the whiskers respond to water and air flow.

Researchers from Singapore and the U.S. describe a whisker array they developed using five super-elastic metal alloy wires covered in plastic straws. A strain gauge located at the bottom of the array records any movement the whiskers make. These signals are accumulated to create an image of the gas or fluid brushing past it.

Making artificial whiskers that interpret delicate movements, called vibrissal sensing, has only become possible in the last 15 years, following advances in understanding the brain’s neural processing of vibrissal signals.

Read more at Phys.org, April 18, 2016

Animal-inspired whiskers key to new navigation technology
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