Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University

Research Projects

Creative Interdisciplinary Collaboration Program 2022

Assist. Prof. Kotaro Yasui

Title Exploring control principles underlying animal navigation based on embodiment
Priod 2022-2023

Animals can move in complex natural environments for survival. Such adaptive movements are realized through the interplay between navigation and locomotor capabilities. However, most studies on animal navigation have focused on the path selection mechanisms based on the sun and magnetic compasses. Thus, the role of sensory inputs in their locomotor movements for deciding navigation strategies has not been considered enough. Therefore, how animals’ adaptive navigation behavior emerges through the neuronal and physical interactions between the body and the environment remains unclear. In this study, we aim to extract the control mechanisms underlying the "embodied" navigation of animals. Specifically, we adopt a synthetic approach. We build a mathematical model based on behavioral experiments and test the hypothesized control mechanisms by implementing the model into the embodied artificial animals using computer simulation and robots. Thus, this study is an interdisciplinary collaborative project of ethology (Dr. Kozue Shiomi) and bio-inspired robotics (Dr. Kotaro Yasui).