Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Robots getting sixth sense, seeing dead people?

I know that most of us have at some point waded with small fish and endeavoured to catch one. In so doing we've all discovered that fish seem to have an uncanny awareness and ridiculously low reaction time when approached by an object. It seems that fish aren't preternaturally fast, they're just equipped with a sense we aren't.

That sense is called a lateral line. It uses the feedback from a line of incredibly thin hairs along their back to generate a mental map of water pressure and fluid changes, letting them 'feel' through the water around them.

Now, the institute of physics reports that some researchers have found a way to manufacture an artificial lateral line using silicon and modern micromachining methods. These scientists have floated the idea that it could be used to allow robots to navigate underwater environments with more proficiency and ease. Interesting stuff.

Could we soon see robots that can not only see and hear better than us, but develop entirely new senses beyond our ability to comprehend?

Fishy sixth sense could help robots navigate the oceans [Physics.iop.org]

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