The crayfish used to test the lateral line sensor array
Diagram of the test pool set-up
Diagram of a fish's lateral line and neuromasts
Artificial neuromasts on the plastic pipe
Diagram of an artificial neuromast
Scanning electron micrograph of an artificial neuromast
When you think about it, fish can do some pretty remarkable things. They can find prey in murky water, travel in tightly-packed schools without colliding, they always know what depth they’re at, and they manage to avoid being swept away by invisible underwater currents. They’re able to do all of these things and more thanks to their lateral lines - rows of tiny hair cell clusters that run down each side of their bodies. These clusters, known as neuromasts, pick up on changes in water pressure and transmit that information to the brain. Now, researchers in Illinois have created an artificial lateral line, that could someday be used to keep man-made submersibles out of harm’s way.
Other Images from this Gallery