DOI: 10.3390/biomimetics8050399 ISSN:

Ring Attractors as the Basis of a Biomimetic Navigation System

Thomas C. Knowles, Anna G. Summerton, James G. H. Whiting, Martin J. Pearson
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology

The ability to navigate effectively in a rich and complex world is crucial for the survival of all animals. Specialist neural structures have evolved that are implicated in facilitating this ability, one such structure being the ring attractor network. In this study, we model a trio of Spiking Neural Network (SNN) ring attractors as part of a bio-inspired navigation system to maintain an internal estimate of planar translation of an artificial agent. This estimate is dynamically calibrated using a memory recall system of landmark-free allotheic multisensory experiences. We demonstrate that the SNN-based ring attractor system can accurately model motion through 2D space by integrating ideothetic velocity information and use recalled allothetic experiences as a positive corrective mechanism. This SNN based navigation system has potential for use in mobile robotics applications where power supply is limited and external sensory information is intermittent or unreliable.

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