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Publication Summary and Abstract

Pearson MJ, Gilhespy I, Melhuish C, Mitchinson B, Nibouche B, Pipe AG, Prescott TJ (2005), A Biologically inspired haptic sensor array for use in mobile robotic vehicles, proceedings of Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS), London, 189-196.

The periphery of an artificial whisker sensory system is presented. It has been developed by modelling the structure and behaviour of real rodent facial vibrissae. The articial vibrissae have been formed using composite materials and have the ability to be actively moved in a manner analogous to natural whisking. The sensory apparatus of real vibrissae has been modelled and implemented using micro strain gauges and Digital Signal Processors. The primary aerents have been modelled using empirical data taken from electrophysiological measurements, and implemented in real-time using a Field Programmable Gate Array. Pipelining techniques were employed to maximise the utility of the FPGA hardware. The system is to be integrated into a more complete whisker sensory model, including neural structures within the central nervous system, which can be used to orient a mobile robot.
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