Fish-inspired innovation to help track movement in water

Thursday, 27 August, 2015
Looking for a novel way to visualise the ocean? Think fish. Arrays of sensitive cells on their skin — so-called lateral lines — enable them to perceive water movements by detecting subtle changes in pressure. The LAKHSMI project is developing new monitoring and imaging technology based on this principle.

A shark? A shoal of herring? A submarine? Anything that moves in the water exerts pressure on this liquid environment. These disturbances reveal a lot about the agents that cause them — such as their size, direction and speed.

Fish have a remarkable ability to sense and interpret these variations in their immediate surroundings. The LAKHSMI project aims to produce simple, inexpensive technology inspired by this skill, using sensor cables in lieu of lateral lines to measure fleeting pressure changes from the ocean floor. This equipment will hook up to ocean observatories and similar monitoring stations, producing a steady stream of data.

The data collected in this way could be used in areas as diverse as oceanography, harbour security and the production of renewable energy. The project partners are developing a number of online information products along with applications notably designed to monitor marine traffic or track schools of fish. They intend to integrate these software interfaces into large-scale initiatives such as the European Global Ocean Observing system (EUROGOOS).

Sensors for LArge scale HydrodynaMic Imaging of ocean floor
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