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Research Bernoulli Institute Autonomous Perceptive Systems Research

PhD project: Lateral line based sensing and imaging

Name: B.J. (Ben) Wolf

prof. dr. L.R.B. (Lambert) Schomaker
dr. S.M. (Sietse) van Netten

Summary PhD project:

Fish have along the sides of their body a unique organ, the lateral line, which enables them to detect nearby moving objects. This organ is a mechano-receptive system that allows fish to detect perturbations in the water flow surrounding them. It consists of an array of tiny hair-cell like neuromasts which perceive the local fluid velocity. This extra sense, sometimes referred to as svenning, lies somewhere between touch and hearing; touch at a distance. This allows fish to detect prey, predator and obstacles without using their eyes. It can therefore be used in total darkness.

Fish lateral line perception of a moving body
Fish lateral line perception of a moving body

In this project, we aim to model and build artificial neuromasts using novel strain sensing techniques that can perceive local fluid velocity and use these to build a large scale artificial lateral line. New lateral line based algorithms and methods will be developed for artificial lateral line perception.

This cost-effective measurement of the near-field large-scale hydrodynamic situation allows for monitoring cabled ocean observatories, live tracking of fish, fish schools and subsurface traffic in harbors.

Available sensing modalities under water for AUVs
Available sensing modalities under water for AUVs
Another use for small scale artificial lateral lines is to equip autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) with these novel sensors. AUVs suffer from a blind zone around their body. While most of their local surrounding can be perceived with normal underwater cameras, they can’t see things nearby and get stuck sometimes. An artificial lateral line might help closing this blind zone and enable safer under water navigation.
Last modified:24 February 2021 2.40 p.m.