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Sensors and sensory systems for advanced robots. Paolo Dario. The focus is on a review of the state of the art and perspectives of sensor technology for robots. The neural components of the whisker sensory system of the rat maintain an exquisite degree of topological preservation from whisker follicle through to cortex Kleinfeld et al. This allows for controlled observations of the neural response to stimuli applied to the whisker shaft at multiple levels of this neuraxis.

Model systems can be constructed from such observations which are then reinforced, or at least validated, by behavioural observations of the animal, an approach known as neuroethology Camhi, Using robotic artifacts to test such models computational neuroethology introduces a degree of experimental flexibility to allow experiments that may be either impossible or unethical to achieve through animal testing. It also provides roboticists the opportunity to work with neuroscientists to evaluate novel brain-based control approaches for future autonomous robotic systems. Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

Paolo Dario

Tony Pipe and Martin J. Pearson , Scholarpedia, 10 3 Jump to: navigation , search. Post-publication activity Curator: Martin J. Pearson Contributors:. Ealan Henis. Mathew Evans. Tony J. Sponsored by: Prof. Category : Touch. Namespaces Page Discussion. Views Read View source View history. Answers may include bats and toothed whales, like dolphins. Tell students they are going to participate in a game to experience what it is like to use sound rather than sight to locate objects. One student will play the role of a bat and another will play the role of an insect.

In a space with plenty of room, mark off a 6 x 6 m 19 x 19 ft square using masking tape. This is the field of play. The insect may not leave the square during play. When the insect is in the square, the bat is blindfolded and led to the square. This continues until the bat locates the insect and places one hand gently on the insect, indicating that dinner is served.

Remind students there is no running.

Are there differences in the way bats and robots use senses to gain a better understanding of their environments? Explain that bats instinctively know how to echolocate and can learn from their experiences; however, robots must be provided with an artificial sensor and then be given specific instructions on how to use it in every possible scenario. Explain that improved sets of guidelines or rules to follow to accomplish a task, or algorithms, for robots and better sensory information help robots create better 3-D maps of their environments.

The images coming from a camera, like the Microsoft Kinect Yes! The same sensor you use when you are playing video games on the Xbox , are stitched together to form a collage, or one big picture. If robots have better sensory information, it can improve their navigation abilities.

This means that if robots have better sensors, they can have a better idea of where, or where not, to move.


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For example, imagine your vision is blurry. You may not see the tree in front of you and run into it. Brainstorm how echolocation could be used as a sensor for a robot. Ask: In what operating conditions would a sensor, using echolocation, provide good feedback for a robot? Examples would be robots working in the deep sea; robots working in an environment where there are many obstacles, like walls or furniture, to avoid future vacuum cleaner robots ; or robots tasked with locating small objects or identifying small details. Ask: Are there examples when a sensor based on echolocation would not be a good choice?

If the robot is operating in an environment that is not conducive to reflecting sound waves or where a more detailed image of the environment is needed.

Sensors and Sensory Systems for Advanced Robots

Remind students that biomimicry is the practice of using nature and animals, which have honed their adaptations for millions of years, as inspiration for solving engineering problems. Have students articulate how biomimicry could be applied in the development of robotic sensors.

This activity may be done as a demonstration using student volunteers; if time and space permit, groups of students may participate simultaneously. Explain that some humans use echolocation for simple environment mapping and navigating. Have a student sit blindfolded at one end of a room with a noise-making item. Have a second student hold a large, flat object and walk back and forth in a perpendicular straight line approximately 24 cm 9 in in front of the seated student. The flat side of the object should face the seated student.

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Instruct the seated, blindfolded student to use the noisemaker repeatedly and listen for subtle differences in the manner in which the sounds reflect back to his or her ears. When the seated student believes the object is directly in front of him or her, the student will signal by waving his or her arms. As a class, discuss the results of the exploration. The flat item, when in front of the seated student, will reflect some of the sound back toward the student and a difference in sound may be detected.

Clear a large enough area in the classroom of obstacles to prevent accidents. Mark off a 6 x 6 m 19 x 19 square using masking tape.

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A smaller space can be used if that much free space is unavailable. Animals, including humans, use sensors to gather information pertaining to their environments. The five most basic senses humans use to collect information are sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Robots also have senses in the form of sensors. Sensors are used to evaluate the environment in which the robot is operating and allows the robot to adjust actions based on collected data.

Scientists and engineers have developed many kinds of sensors. When engineers use nature for inspiration in developing ideas for these sensors, it is called biomimicry. Echolocation is a sense that uses sound waves and echoes to determine where objects are in space.