Animal-inspired sensing for autonomously climbing or avoiding obstacles

William A. Lewinger, Cynthia M. Harley, Michael S. Watson, Michael S. Branicky, Roy E. Ritzmann, Roger D. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The way that natural systems navigate their environments with agility, intelligence and efficiency is an inspiration to engineers. Biological attributes such as modes of locomotion, sensory modalities, behaviours and physical appearance have been used as design goals. While methods of locomotion allow robots to move through their environment, the addition of sensing, perception and decision making are necessary to perform this task with autonomy. This paper contrasts how the addition of two separate sensing modalities - tactile antennae and non-contact sensing - and a low-computation, capable microcontroller allow a biologically abstracted mobile robot to make insect-inspired decisions when encountering a shelflike obstacle, navigating a cluttered environment without collision and seeking vision-based goals while avoiding obstacles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Bionics and Biomechanics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Antennae
  • Autonomous navigation
  • Biologically inspired
  • Cockroach
  • Microcontroller
  • Mobile robotics
  • Whegs


Dive into the research topics of 'Animal-inspired sensing for autonomously climbing or avoiding obstacles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this