The overall aim of our research is to understand the behavioural
capabilities of insects and to model these using robots. Currently
there are a number of specific topics we are investigating:
Female crickets are able to locate mates by walking or flying towards
the songs produced by males. We are modelling the neural circuits
underlying this behaviour and testing the models on robots (including
an outdoor robot).
Funded by BBSRC. More details here soon...
Insects are capable of much more than simple reflex behaviour. We are
investigating sensory integration and learning mechanisms in insect
Funded by EPSRC
Context Dependent and Multimodal Learning : From Insect Brains to Robot Controllers
Six-legged walking in robots does not yet have the flexibility of which
insects are capable of. We have carried out behavioural experiments on
stick insects and developed a dynamic simulation model of their control
Funded by EPSRC
Neuromorphic Sensorimotor Integration for Legged Locomotion (NSILL)
Ants and bees are known to be able to locate an invisible nest site
from the surrounding visual cues. Cockroaches and crickets can also use
visual cues to locate a safe platform in a heated arena. We are
developing behavioural paradigms and models of this capability.
Place memory in crickets
Insects have multiple sensory systems and a critical issue is how signals
are integrated or interact in controlling behaviour. Work on this issue
in our lab includes investigation of the interaction of phonotaxis and
the optomotor response, and
olfactory and visual responses in Drosophila
More details here
Biomorphic wind sensing:
Crickets and cockroaches have wind sensitive hairs on two appendages on
their abdomen. We are integrating MEMS hairs with analog VLSI neurons
to create novel sensors for a robot able to replicate the escape
behaviour of the insects.
Funded by EPSRC.