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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/T09873/01
Title: Biomorphic wind sensing: integrating MEMS and analogue VLSI into robotics.
Principal Investigator: Webb, Professor B
Other Investigators:
Hamilton, Dr A Stephenson, Dr T Cheung, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr R Reeve
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Informatics
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 2004 Ends: 31 March 2008 Value (£): 507,262
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Microsystems Robotics & Autonomy
VLSI Design
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Biological systems obtain their robust and adaptive capabilities by a combination of clever mechanical construction, efficient preprocessing of sensory signals, and task-specific neural control circuits. We have the unique opportunity to combine expertise in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), analogue very large scale integration electronic circuit design (aVLSI), and neural simulation for controlling robots to gain essential understanding of the interaction of these factors. Our aim is to develop a wind sensing system based on insect hair cells, that will be implemented in a fully integrated MEMS/aVLSI chip and interfaced to a robot to test in controlling behaviours such as course stabilisation and upwind flight. Important issues to be addressed include: the most effective mechanical designs and the optimal sensor layouts for the task; the use of short-term synaptic plasticity in hardware neural circuits as a means of adaptive preprocessing of MEMS sensor output; development of hardware and software interfaces between aVLSI chips and digital circuits and neural simulations; and the design of insect inspired neural controllers for combining different sensory inputs and responding robustly in complex environments such as turbulent wind flow.
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