Fish Sensory Organ May Enhance Underwater Robots



A group of scientists led by the College of Bristol has been learning a fish sensory organ with a purpose to achieve perception into collective conduct, which might be used for underwater robots.

The main target of the analysis was the lateral line organ present in African cichlid fish and virtually all different fish species. This organ permits fish to precisely sense water stress and detect exterior components like different fish, modifications in water circulate, predators, and obstacles.

Lateral Line System in Fish

The lateral line system spans the pinnacle, trunk, and tail of fish and consists of mechanoreceptors referred to as neuromasts. These receptors could be situated inside subdermal channels or on the floor of the pores and skin.

Elliot Scott of the College of Bristol’s Division of Engineering Arithmetic was lead creator of the examine.

“We had been looking for out if the completely different areas of the lateral line — the lateral line on the pinnacle versus the lateral line on the physique, or the various kinds of lateral line sensory items akin to these on the pores and skin, versus these beneath it, play completely different roles in how the fish is ready to sense its atmosphere by way of environmental stress headings,” he stated.

“We did this in a novel approach, by utilizing hybrid fish, that allowed for the pure technology of variation.”

The researchers discovered that the lateral line system across the head has a big affect on the fish’s potential to swim in a gaggle. The next variety of subdermal neuromasts results in nearer swimming, whereas extra floor neuromasts lead to extra separated swimming.

Scaling Up Via Simulation 

The mechanisms behind the lateral line system had been additionally proven to work at bigger scales by way of simulation. This might result in the event of a low-cost stress sensor for underwater robotics, particularly for swarm robotics, the place price is a significant concern.

“These findings present a greater understanding of how the lateral line informs shoaling conduct in fish, whereas additionally contributing a novel design of a reasonable stress sensor that might be helpful on underwater robots that need to navigate in darkish or murky waters,” Elliot stated.

The group will now look to develop the sensor even additional and combine it right into a robotic platform to assist a robotic navigate underwater.