Distant touch hydrodynamic imaging with an artificial lateral line

Yingchen Yang, Jack Chen, Jonathan Engel, Saunvit Pandya, Nannan Chen, Craig Tucker, Sheryl Coombs, Douglas L. Jones, Chang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Nearly all underwater vehicles and surface ships today use sonar and vision for imaging and navigation. However, sonar and vision systems face various limitations, e.g., sonar blind zones, dark or murky environments, etc. Evolved over millions of years, fish use the lateral line, a distributed linear array of flow sensing organs, for underwater hydrodynamic imaging and information extraction. We demonstrate here a proof-of-concept artificial lateral line system. It enables a distant touch hydrodynamic imaging capability to critically augment sonar and vision systems. We show that the artificial lateral line can successfully perform dipole source localization and hydrodynamic wake detection. The development of the artificial lateral line is aimed at fundamentally enhancing human ability to detect, navigate, and survive in the underwater environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18891-18895
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 12 2006


  • Dipole localization
  • Hot wire anemometer
  • Micromachining
  • Neuromast
  • Wake detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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