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Uploaded on Oct 29, 2009
The image of a rat sniffing around for food with its little whiskers moving back and forth to help satisfy it's appetite is enough to make most people lose theirs! But those whiskers play a valuable role in helping rats determine what is in the environment around them. With support from the National Science Foundation, Mitra Hartmann and colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago are constructing whiskered robots that can detect and then project 3D virtual images of objects on to a computer screen. Scientists here don't think it's so far fetched that one day robotic rovers, much like the ones on Mars now, might contain a set of whiskers to help them navigate the terrain around them.