Drawing inspiration from bats, researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed what they call a Robat, a fully autonomous terrestrial robot that, like a bat, emits sounds and analyzes the returning echoes to recognize, map and navigate obstacles outdoors. The development could have “great potential” for the use of sound for future robotic applications, the researchers said.
A study about the invention was published on Thursday in PLOS Computational Biology.
TAU graduate student Itamar Eliakim, together with a team of researchers in the fields of zoology, neuroscience and engineering, developed the robot, which, like a bat, emits sounds and analyzes the returning echoes to generate a map of space.
Inspired by this ability, the researchers created the Robat — a robot that relies solely on a bat-like sound-based navigation system to orient itself through new environments and map them. To do this, the researchers used a biological approach, by creating ears — using two ultrasonic receivers — and a mouth, using an ultrasound speaker or emitter, which produced frequency-modulated chirps at a typical bat rate. This enabled the Robat to move through a large outdoor environment and map it in real time, they said.
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