The facility is a medium size pool for testing performance of small swimming robots. The room is equipped with a tracking system based on the cameras mounted above the swimming pool. Tracking system provides position information of all bright points in the swimming pool area. Swimming tests against water flow can also be done by mounting removable components of the flow tank system, shown in the left photo.
Aquatic animals as eels, perform undulatory swimming, consisting of accelerating the fluid to create thrust. The gaits are generated by the coordination/synchronization of central pattern generators (CPG) producing a rhythmic pattern. If short-range coupling between CPGs can be provided by local connections, the origin of long-range interactions remains an open question. Could long-range coupling between CPGs be provided by hydrodynamic sensory feedback?
The aim of the experiment is to investigate the efficiency of feedback based on hydrodynamics pressure to synchronize a network of CPGs. These oscillators will control the servomotors of a 9-links swimming robot. The runs will be performed thanks to a robot designed at EPFL. These results will be then compared to our theoretical models based on linear analysis of the body response and synchronization theory. Finally, we aim to determine the necessary and sufficient conditions to synchronize the oscillators.
We expect impacts on different fields of research