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Front. Neurorobot. | doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2019.00066

Decentralized Control Mechanism for Determination of Moving Direction in Brittle Stars with Penta-radially Symmetric Body

 Takeshi Kano1*, Daichi Kanauchi1,  Hitoshi Aonuma2, Elizabeth G. Clark3 and  Akio Ishiguro1
  • 1Tohoku University, Japan
  • 2Hokkaido University, Japan
  • 3Yale University, United States

A brittle star, an echinoderm with penta-radially symmetric body, can make decisions about its moving direction and move adapting to various circumstances despite lacking a central nervous system and instead possessing a rather simple distributed nervous system. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the essential control mechanism underlying the determination of moving direction in brittle stars. Based on behavioral findings on brittle stars whose nervous systems were lesioned in various ways, we propose a phenomenological mathematical model. We demonstrate via simulations that the proposed model can well reproduce the behavioral findings. Our findings not only provide insights into the mechanism for the determination of moving direction in brittle stars, but also help understand the essential mechanism underlying autonomous behaviors of animals. Moreover, they will pave the way for developing fully autonomous robots that can make decisions by themselves and move adaptively under various circumstances.

Keywords: Brittle star, Decentralized control, autonomous robot, Locomotion, Determination of moving direction

Received: 05 Mar 2019; Accepted: 05 Aug 2019.

Edited by:

Jan-Matthias Braun, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Reviewed by:

Malte Schilling, Bielefeld University, Germany
Valery E. Karpov, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia  

Copyright: © 2019 Kano, Kanauchi, Aonuma, Clark and Ishiguro. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Takeshi Kano, Tohoku University, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan, tkano@riec.tohoku.ac.jp