MorphEngine: Chemotaxis




A new project in collaboration with Jelle Atema, director of the Boston University Marine Program, is aimed at revealing how sensory and neural systems evolved in different marine species to allow for chemotaxis, or the tracking of an odour source in turbulent marine environments. To date, MorphEngine has been used to evolve neural controllers for a simple quadrupedal agent that is able to track a static, diffusing odour source (shown as a 2D crosshatch matrix in the lefthand images). The agent uses both of its chemosensors (one in each of its antennae) to change direction, and uses its other sensors to generate a stable forward gait. The project will be extended to allow evolution to make more fundamental changes to the simulated animal's sensory and neural systems.