Dr. Malcolm MacIver, Associate Professor at Northwestern University, will present "Robotic Electrolocation" during the Robotics Colloquium.
Abstract: Electrolocation is used by the weakly electric fish of South America and Africa to navigate and hunt in murky water where vision is ineffective. These fish generate an AC electric field that is perturbed by objects nearby that differ in impedance from the water. Electroreceptors covering the body of the fish report the amplitude and phase of the local field. The animal decodes electric field perturbations into information about its surroundings. Electrolocation is fundamentally divergent from optical vision (and other imaging methods) that create projective images of 3D space. Current electrolocation methods are also quite different from electrical impedance tomography. We will describe current electrolocation technology, and progress on development of a propulsion system inspired by electric fish to provide the precise movement capabilities that this short-range sensing approach requires.
Bio: Malcolm MacIver is Associate Professor at Northwestern University with joint appointments in the Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering departments. He is interested in the neural and mechanical basis of animal behavior, evolution, and the implications of the close coupling of movement with gathering information for our understanding of intelligence and consciousness. He also develops immersive art installations that have been exhibited internationally.
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