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Fish-like Sensors for Underwater Robots 57

Posted by Zonk
from the fishies-are-fun dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, both submarine and surface ships use sonar for navigation. But sonar and other vision systems face various limitations. So why not imitating fish? For millions of years, fish have relied on 'a row of specialized sensory organs along the sides of their bodies, called the lateral line' to avoid predators or to find preys. So engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have decided to build an artificial lateral line for submarines and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The first tests have been successful, and we can now envision a day where AUVs could detect and track moving underwater targets or avoid collisions with moving or stationary objects."
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Fish-like Sensors for Underwater Robots

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  • by thepotoo (829391) <thepotoospam AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:15PM (#18115804)

    So why not imitating fish?

    Truly, this is a question that will plague both scientists and engrish majors for years to come.

  • Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

    by djdbass (1037730) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:16PM (#18115816)
    Indeed. Why not imitating fish? All your gills are belong us.
  • karma whore (Score:2, Informative)

    by jcgf (688310)
    Biologically inspired sensors can augment sonar, vision system in submarines

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- To find prey and avoid being preyed upon, fish rely on a row of specialized sensory organs along the sides of their bodies, called the lateral line. Now, a research team led by Chang Liu at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has built an artificial lateral line that can provide the same functions in underwater vehicles.

    "Our development of an artificial lateral line is aimed at enhancing human abili

    • by IdahoEv (195056) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @09:33PM (#18117238) Homepage
      The article implies that we could replace sonar with the lateral line:

      But sonar and other vision systems face various limitations. So why not imitating fish?

      The lateral line is truly an amazing organ. It senses pressure and flow at numerous points on both flanks of fish, and that information helps it swim efficiently and indeed locate prey and avoid predators.

      But it's fundamentally a local signal, because it can only detect within a certain range and with limited resolution. A fish can't use the lateral line to make sense of the 3D shape of an object ten meters away, because that information simply isn't transferred through the water that far.

      Sonar can indeed do that, and can locate and take velocity measurements on objects *miles* away. So useful, in fact, that dolphins use it as one of their primary sensory systems, apparently getting almost as much detail from sonar as they do from vision.

      A lateral line may be a very useful addition to an underwater craft, but it can't replace it as the summary implies. (TFA is smarter, BTW. Go figure.).

  • Er... new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gardyloo (512791) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:21PM (#18115880)
    As far as I can tell from the article (hah!), the flow-sensors aren't new, though they may be uniquely orientable with applied magnetic fields. Really, this just looks (to me) as though it's a low-frequency linear acoustic array, and those have been used for a LONG time for this sort of thing. It seems to me that the individual sensors might be what are actually of interest.
    • with 1 milimetre spacing it certainly isn't a low frequency linear accoustic array.
      • by gardyloo (512791)
        "Low frequency" usually refers to the bandwidth detectable by the individual detectors.The tight spacing allows better directional determination, since to determine direction one normally makes use of phase information in the signal, or at least relative timings. If each of the detectors averages over its sensitive face and really gives one an idea of only the average pressure on the detector at any time, then putting many of them in a line gives relative timing data as signals wash by several of them. If y
  • by wile_e_wonka (934864) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @07:29PM (#18115984)
    PETA's gonna be mad when sharks eat these.
  • Tag suggestion: preys
  • I'm glad this technology will help keep us safe from terrorists with submarines, now can we give up Low Frequency Active Sonar?
    • This development is for AUV's/UUV's and have nothing to do with submarines.
      We used UUV's in Iraq to clear the waterways (there ARE waterways!) of mines. This means less need for trained dolphins and related dolphin headaches and expenses. See http://www.joetalbot.net/index_10.htm [joetalbot.net]
      • I'm hopeing your statement "related dolphin headaches" was meant to be funny. (My problem with Low Frequency Active Sonar, is the damage it does to marine mammals that use sonar.)
  • According to this article [globalsecurity.org] the timing couldn't be better if we assume that China is actually a world power with the capability of projecting force. Politically they are quite happy with their relationship [census.gov] to the U.S. Militarily there isn't much of a chance that we'll be playing in the sandbox nicely [military.com] together.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      I always laugh at the idiots who claim that Iran or NK (or even Iraq) is a threat to us. They are small countries that we can put in to 5 nukes and destroy the total country. In contrast, these countries do not have the economic might to build enough nukes to threaten all of their enemy (nk => sk, and Iran => Isreal), let alone USA. Finally, our current anti missile systems are capable of taking our any thing that is inbound. Shortly, we will have lasers with better capabilities. Of course, I have to
      • by JonTurner (178845)
        >>these countries do not have the economic might to build enough nukes to threaten all of their enemy (nk => sk, and Iran => Isreal), let alone USA.

        You are so wrong it is painful.

        Please consult a map. Israel is an extremely small country which could easily be destroyed with a couple modest-yield nuclear weapons.
        While you have that map handy, have a look at the distance from the North Korea/South Korea border to the capitol of North Korea, an extremely densely populated area. A nuclear strike to
        • by rtb61 (674572)
          I think you have it all wrong. Any autocratic country only requires one weapon to take out all of it's leadership and they have lost or won, depending upon whether you are the dead ruler or the now liberated citizenship.

          Which is why of course autocratic countries always shy away from actually using weapons of mass destruction against other countries (only used to threaten other countries), they don't really care how many of their citizens you or even they kill, they only really care if they are personally

        • Look, how many nukes could Iran or NK make total? 100 each (and that is being very generous)? Whats more, if Iran pops up with an explosion, how long will it be before they are isolated from the rest of the world? It will happen very quick. But at this time, America has the ability to stop their missiles. In addition, as I pointed out, we will have more capability in the near future concerning stopping missiles(ABL platform should do a nice job from Iraq/Kuwait area and SK is plenty good for NK). All in all
  • Oh great, another Ronald PorkPie story on slashdot...
  • Now I can eat subs raw
  • This is so obviously a set up. Liu was planted by the Chinese government to assist in the three steps to dominion of the deep...

    Step 1: Trick the United States into removing sonar from their subs and replacing it with sensors imitating the lateral lines of fish.

    Step 2: Build Chinese submarines with emourmous mouths and "Hyper Active Sonars" that mimmicks the sonar of the dolphins.

    Step 3: Use said H.A.S. to stun the US submarines so they are easier to catch and eat, just as Dolphins do to fish.

    • This is so obviously a set up. Liu was planted by the Chinese government to assist in the three steps to dominion of the deep...

      Step 1: Trick the United States into removing sonar from their subs and replacing it with sensors imitating the lateral lines of fish.

      Step 2: Build Chinese submarines with emourmous mouths and "Hyper Active Sonars" that mimmicks the sonar of the dolphins.

      Step 3: Use said H.A.S. to stun the US submarines so they are easier to catch and eat, just as Dolphins do to fish.

      Step 4: ?????

      Step 5: Profit!

      Dean

      Hey, somebody had to say it.

  • All I asked for was sharks with frickin' lasers!
  • The problem with *AR is that it's not passive, therefore it's not stealthy as people can "hear" you looking; In Soviet Russia, Enemy finds your RADAR. This is an interesting development.
  • Our new lateral line-using fish overlords.
  • Its been used for years.

    Thousands of hits here [google.com]

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