Techno Press
You logged in as Techno Press

Smart Structures and Systems
  Volume 8, Number 1, July 2011 , pages 39-52

Controlling a lamprey-based robot with an electronic nervous system
A Westphal, N.F. Rulkov, J Ayers, D Brady and M Hunt

    We are developing a biomimetic robot based on the Sea Lamprey. The robot consists of a ylindrical electronics bay propelled by an undulatory body axis. Shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators enerate propagating flexion waves in five undulatory segments of a polyurethane strip. The behavior of the robot is controlled by an electronic nervous system (ENS) composed of networks of discrete-time map-based neurons and synapses that execute on a digital signal processing chip. Motor neuron action potentials gate power transistors that apply current to the SMA actuators. The ENS consists of a set of segmental centralpattern generators (CPGs), modulated by layered command and coordinating neuron networks, that integrate input from exteroceptive sensors including a compass, accelerometers, inclinometers and a short baseline sonar array (SBA). The CPGs instantiate the 3-element hemi-segmental network model established from physiological studies. Anterior and posterior propagating pathways between CPGs mediate intersegmental coordination to generate flexion waves for forward and backward swimming. The command network mediates layered exteroceptive reflexes for homing, primary orientation, and impediment compensation. The SBA allows homing on a sonar beacon by indicating deviations in azimuth and inclination. Inclinometers actuate a bending segment between the hull and undulator to allow climb and dive. Accelerometers can distinguish collisions from impediment to allow compensatory reflexes. Modulatory commands mediate speed control and turning. A SBA communications interface is being developed to allow supervised reactive autonomy.
Key Words
    central pattern generator; biomimetic; autonomy; electronic neurons; robotics.
A Westphal and J Ayers:Department of Biology and Marine Science Center, Northeastern University, East Point,
Nahant, MA 01908, USA
N.F. Rulkov: Information Systems Laboratories, Inc., 10070 Barnes Canyon Road, San Diego CA 92121, USA, Institute for Nonlinear Science, UCSD, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
D Brady: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave.Boston, MA 02115, USA
M Hunt: Ariel Inc. Santa Ysabel, CA 92070, USA

Techno-Press: Publishers of international journals and conference proceedings.       Copyright © 2023 Techno Press
P.O. Box 33, Yuseong, Daejeon 305-600 Korea, Tel: +82-42-828-7996, Fax : +82-42-828-7997, Email: