Human-in-the-loop active electrosense

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Active electrosense is a non-visual, short range sensing system used by weakly electric fish, enabling such fish to locate and identify objects in total darkness. Here we report initial findings from the use of active electrosense for object localization during underwater teleoperation with a virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). The advantage of electrolocating with a VR system is that it naturally allows for aspects of the task that are difficult for a person to perform to be allocated to the computer. However, interpreting weak and incomplete patterns in the incoming data is something that people are typically far better at than computers. To achieve human-computer synergy, we integrated an active electrosense underwater robot with the Oculus Rift HMD. The virtual environment contains a visualization of the electric images of the objects surrounding the robot as well as various virtual fixtures that guide users to regions of higher information value. Initial user testing shows that these fixtures significantly reduce the time taken to localize an object, but may not increase the accuracy of the position estimate. Our results highlight the advantages of translating the unintuitive physics of electrolocation to an intuitive visual representation for accomplishing tasks in environments where imaging systems fail, such as in dark or turbid water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number014001
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2017


  • active electrosense
  • augmented reality
  • humancomputer interaction
  • teleoperation
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Human-in-the-loop active electrosense'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this