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Publication - Dr Martin Homer

    Touch and see

    Physical interactions stimulating patterns in artificial cephalopod skin


    Fishman, A, Catsis, S, Homer, M & Rossiter, J, 2018, ‘Touch and see: Physical interactions stimulating patterns in artificial cephalopod skin’. in: 2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft 2018): Proceedings of a meeting held 24-28 April 2018, Livorno, Italy. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), pp. 1-6


    Cephalopods (e.g., octopus, squid and cuttlefish) employ their colour-changing skin for rapid active camouflage and signalling in complex visual environments. This is achieved through the collective embodied intelligence of chromatophores: Pigment organs which stretch under electrical stimulation to affect local skin colouration, and are also responsive to physical stimulation. In this study, we present an experimental investigation of touch-responsive bioinspired artificial cephalopod skin fabricated from soft dielectric elastomer, a material that has the potential to mimic the actuation of biological chromatophore cells in both speed and optical modulation. We measure the behaviour of an interacting cyclic network of such artificial chromatophores, using local strain as the control input that drives cell actuation. By applying simple local feedback rules analogous to cellular automata, we demonstrate that physical stimulation can generate a variety of travelling wave-like patterns that mimic those seen in biological cephalopod skins.

    Full details in the University publications repository