Insights into Rostock – Presenting Cooperation Partners for New Technologies
The Marine Science Center in the yacht harbour Rostock - Hohe Düne is an institute of the University of Rostock. The Seal Research Centre of the Chair of Sensory and Cognitive Ecology is the largest facility of its kind in the world and is devoted to the mechanisms of sensory perception and underwater orientation of seals. For example, Prof. Dr. Dehnhardt and his team are looking into the question: How do seals manage to accurately localise a sound source even under water and/or to follow the relatively weak vortex structures of fish over several metres with their whiskers when hunting?
These findings from the investigations into the sensory apparatus and cognition of sea mammals are not only interesting from the standpoint of pure research, but are in addition intended for application in bionics. The specially adapted sensory systems of the seals can for example be used in the solution of technical problems. For this, the principles of nature that are discovered are processed into an abstract form of technology and thus also made accessible to the companies.
In this way, the results on the sensory apparatus of marine mammals can be used in the development of technical sensors, which are especially required in the field of underwater robotics for "Autonomous Underwater Vehicles" (AUVs). A possible field of application can be the development of underwater sensor systems with current sensors based upon whiskers, which can be used for the active exploration of marine environments. In this way, for example, various current conditions can be measured and mapped or outflows can be detected in the event of a leak from a pipeline and/or monitoring can be carried out in advance.