A test bed for insect-inspired robotic control
Flying insects are remarkable examples of sophisticated sensory-motor control systems. Insects have solved the fundamental challenge facing the field of mobile robots: robust sensory-motor mapping. Control models based on insects can contribute much to the design of robotic control systems. We present our work on a preliminary robotic control system inspired by current behavioural and physiological models of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. We designed a five-degrees-of-freedom robotic system that serves as a novel simulation/mobile robot hybrid. This design has allowed us to implement a fly-inspired control system that uses visual and mechanosensory feedback. Our results suggest that a simple control scheme can yield surprisingly robust fly-like robotic behaviour.
© 2003 The Royal Society. Published online 18 August 2003. Theme Issue 'Biologically inspired robotics' compiled by R. I. Damper. The authors thank A. Sherman, M. Frye and S. Budick for their insightful editing, and L. Tammero for his help throughout the project. This work was funded by grants from ONR (FDN00014-99-1-0892) and DARPA (N00014-98-1-0855).