Robotic Rat Whiskers
October 15, 2006 1:44 PM   Subscribe

R·a·tW·h·i·s·k·e·r·s - a hot research topic in robotics, biomedical engineering, and neuroscience. Check out the Robotic Rat Whiskers segment from this weeks Quirks & Quarks, and watch them in action (video link at bottom of page).
posted by Chuckles (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first link is a an article on the same research as the Quirks & Quarks program, in case somebody out there prefers reading.
posted by Chuckles at 1:53 PM on October 15, 2006

"Such "biomimetic" whiskers might one day enhance the navigation of robotic vehicles used to explore other planets and underwater environments here on Earth."

Couldn't real rats be used? I, for one, would not miss them.
posted by Cranberry at 2:09 PM on October 15, 2006

I'm gonna guess, without having read any of the articles, that they work just like inner ear hairs, only probably less sensitive; in the ear, sensory nerves at the base of the ear hair detects minor angular displacement, and fires accordingly, depending on the degree shift. Then it gets complicated.
posted by wumpus at 2:09 PM on October 15, 2006

Cranberry, a behaviorist might try; read about BF Skinner's Project Pigeon for related amusement.
posted by wumpus at 2:11 PM on October 15, 2006

wumpus - thanks for the link. If BF SKinner used homing pigeons, we would not have heard of him - except for a distant boom.
posted by Cranberry at 8:46 PM on October 15, 2006

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