The overall aim of FILOSE is to acquire a deeper understanding of the principles underlying fish locomotion and sensing, in order to develop new technologies for underwater vehicles on the basis of biological evidence. More specifically, FILOSE will shed light on how fish exploit lateral line sensing in underwater environments. The lateral line provides fish with the ability to detect hydrodynamic patterns in the surrounding environment, thereby playing a key role in adapting to environmental changes.
FILOSE's main goals are captured by the following objectives:
1. investigate fish locomotion in a controlled hydrodynamic environment, in particular addressing the issue of how fish react to changes in hydrodynamic patterns;
2. develop a novel mechanical design of an underwater fish robot, characterized by high manoeuvrability and low complexity;
3. develop a MEMS-based artificial lateral line;
4. develop a control method for the artificial fish, aimed at reproducing locomotion patterns found in biological fish and based on a central pattern generator (CPG);
5. develop a method to characterize and classify hydrodynamic images, making use of a mechanosensory array;
6. develop a classification method to couple detected hydrodynamic events with locomotion patterns found in biological fish;
7. conduct comparative experiments in a controlled hydrodynamic environment to assess behaviour of an artificial fish equipped with artificial lateral line sensing with respect to the behaviour of a biological fish.
We believe that the proposed investigations are key to building underwater robots that improve on the existing by exhibiting a greater degree of autonomy, adaptability to environmental changes, manoeuvrability, stability and overall lower complexity, as well as moving more efficiently and quietly.