Bio-Inspired Autonomous Systems

This program aims to discover the principles of control, sensorimotor integration and biomechanics that underlie the agility, quietness, dexterity and intelligence of swimming, walking and flying biological systems, and to formalize these principles to facilitate engineering invention and design. The program seeks to build a bridge between the science of biology and the art of Naval engineering by laying emphasis on the distillation of science in biology and the implementation of the kernel of it on existing Navy products to make significant gains.

Research proposals are expected to meld biology and engineering. Of particular interest are the following areas:

  • Interdisciplinary research to identify, model and emulate the biomechanics and fluid mechanics of underwater propulsion and control in swimming organisms
  • Interdisciplinary research to identify, model and emulate sensorimotor control of animals and explore integrated closed-loop control using biosensing (including biosonar, electrosense, lateral-line sensing, and optic flow) for navigation and obstacle avoidance
  • Development of artificial muscle-based actuators and their neural control for the advancement of underwater vehicles, robots and microflying vehicles
  • Development of swimming prototypes as proof of principle and for performance evaluation
  • Visual guidance and sensorimotor integration for legged (especially bipedal robots) that support human-robot interaction
  • Translation of biomechanical and neural control principles to develop superior limbs and joins for humanoid robots


Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Tom McKenna

Title: Program Manager

Department: Code 34

Division: Human and Bioengineered Systems


Office of Naval Research
875 N. Randolph Street, 10th Floor
Arlington, Va. 22203

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