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Donald R. Webster
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 30332-0355 USA

Konstantin Y. Volyanskyy
School of Civil & Environmental Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology 790 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0355 USA

Marc J. Weissburg
School of Biology Georgia Institute of Technology 310 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0230 USA


We designed and implemented a series of signal processing routines and feedback control algorithms for sensor-mediated chemical plume tracking in a turbulent flow environment. In our design, we focused on development of a signal processing strategy capable of replicating behavioural responses of actively tracking blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) to chemical stimuli. We have developed a command generation unit for sensor-mediated tracking the source of a turbulent chemical plume via motion in two directions (i.e., forward-back and left-right). Upstream motion is induced by a binary response to supra-threshold spikes of concentration and cross-stream steering is controlled by contrast between bilaterally-separated sensors. Like animal strategies, the developed control algorithm is dynamic in nature. This property allows the algorithm to function effectively in the highly irregular turbulent environment and produces adaptive adjustments of motion to minimize the distance to the source of a plume. Preliminary trials indicate that roughly 80% of the tracks successfully end near the plume source location.