ChiRoPing: Developing versatile and robust perception using sonar systems that integrate active sensing, morphology and behaviour


ChiRoPing is a multi-site EC funded research project. The project will implement and evaluate two demonstration sensors built as biomimetic models of an insect gleaning and a water-trawling bat species respectively. It will use a classic biomimetic methodology, involving close collaboration between bat ethologists and roboticists. It will proceed by identifying and measuring the relevant acoustic and morphological parameters of a few carefully selected bat species, reconstructing from that the bat's acoustic experience as it flies through natural hunting tasks. From this data, computational models of how the bat coordinates its acoustic, behavioural and morphological choices during hunting will be elicited and implemented on appropriate robotic systems. The robustness, versatility and generality of these implemented models will be evaluated from an engineering standpoint as example embodied active sonar perception systems, using tasks analogous to the hunting tasks of their living prototypes; evaluation from a biological standpoint will also be carried out.

More complete information can be found at the ChiRoPing project website.

The project starts on February 1, 2008 and continues until January 31, 2011.

ChiRoPing is funded by the EC's IST programme, STREP project 215370, in the ICT Challenge 2: "Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics".


Edinburgh will contribute 3D shape recovery and analysis of bat heads. It is hypothesised that the bats deform their mouth, nose, nose leaf and ears during sonar search, but little hard evidence is known. The core novelty of Edinburgh's contribution to the project is temporal 3D shape data acquired of the bats in flight, while they undertake foraging activities. Acquiring the data will use a specially developed 500 fps 3D range sensor. This temporal 3D data will be coupled with high resolution 3D data from static scans, to allow development of deforming models of the bat in flight. Key steps of this process are:


You can find some:

  1. Publically downloadable datasets (in the future)
  2. Edinburgh's project publications (always under construction)
  3. Results examples (always under construction)


At the moment, there are no positions available.


Robert Fisher
School of Informatics
Univ. of Edinburgh
1.26 Informatics Forum
10 Crichton St
Edinburgh EH8 9AB, United Kingdom
Phone: (44)-131-651-3441 (direct line)
Phone: (44)-131-651-3443 (secretary)
Fax: (44)-131-650-6899


WORMS ON THE WATER (to the melody of "Smoke on the Water")

We all came out to Odense
On Denmark's Fyn Island
To capture bats and their sonar
We didn't have much time
Lasse and Lena had the bats
Well trained and flying around
But the vision team then shouted
"Calibration was not sound"
Worms on the water, tape measures flying
Worms on the water

NOBODY LIKES ME (traditional)

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me
Think I'll go and eat some worms
Long thin slimy ones
Short fat stubby ones
See how they wriggle and squirm

Bite their heads off
Suck their juice out
Throw their skins away
Nobody knows how big I grows
On worms three times a day