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ANGuilliform robot with ELectric Sense (ANGELS)
Start date: Feb 1, 2009, End date: Jul 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of the ANGELS project is to design and build a prototype of a reconfigurable Anguilliform swimming robot able to split into smaller agents (and vice-versa), each equipped with a bio-inspired "electric sense" used both for recognition of objects and communication between agents. This mode of active perception, present in some fish, is based on the polarisation of certain regions of their body, so generating an electric field flowing through an electroreceptive skin. The robot will exploit both "mechanical re-configurability", by changing body topology, and a new concept of "electric re-configurability" that will allow the robots to self-adapt their perception to their environment by changing the location of emitters and receptors on the robot boundaries. The electric field generated around the robots can be considered as an "electric-body" shaped through electric reconfigurations. ANGELS will explore the range of abilities conferred by different mechanical and electric morphologies, from the shaping of the common electric body shared by the agents navigating in formation, to design of behavioural cooperative rules inspired by fish for improving multi-agent perception through emergent collective behaviours. Thus the intelligence encoded in the animals' morphology will be applied to the design of a new generation of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles able to adapt to their environment and suited to a wide spectrum of uses, in particular in situations where vision cannot be used. To achieve these goals, the ANGELS will form a multidisciplinary team combining the complementary expertise of biologists, roboticians, image-processing specialists and nuclear physicsits specialised in the design of particle detectors.

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