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EPSRC Reference: GR/S19639/01
Title: Whiskerbot: A Robot Whisker System Modelled on the Rat Mystacial Vibrissae (Facial Whiskers)
Principal Investigator: Melhuish, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Prescott, Professor T Gurney, Professor K Pipe, Professor T
Redgrave, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr M Nibouche
Project Partners:
Department: Faculty of Environment and Technology
Organisation: University of the West of England
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 2003 Ends: 31 August 2006 Value (£): 430,503
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biomedical neuroscience Computer Sys. & Architecture
Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
There are many mobile robot applications for enclosed spaces such as ducting or piping systems, underground structures, and the interior of di: sites, where current progress is seriously hampered by the lack of equipment for detailed, close-quarters sensing. This stands in interesting contrast the sensory capabilities of a large group of mammals, the rodents, for whom a key sensory system is the mystacial vibrissae (facial whiskers provides these animals with a rich tactile description of local surface shapes and textures. We therefore propose to design and implement a whisker sensory system, modelled on that of the rat, capable of supporting object detection and surface texture analysis. This design will primarily based on computational models of whisker-related neural circuitry in the rat brain but will also exploit advanced Digital Signal Processing ( techniques where useful and appropriate. Our implementation will be tested on a real mobile robot platform, with and without, assistance from sensory modalities. The principal outcomes anticipated will be: a) the development of an active whisking array for use in mobile robotics, b) verification that an active whisking array can be usefully employed for environmental sensing in enclosed environments, c) the development of biomimetic moc sensory processing systems in the rat brain, and d) a significant advance in the state of our knowledge about this new sensory modality.
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Organisation Website: http://www.uwe.ac.uk