Aurelia aurita bio-inspired tilt sensor

Colin Smith, Alex Villanueva, Shashank Priya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The quickly expanding field of mobile robots, unmanned underwater vehicles, and micro-air vehicles urgently needs a cheap and effective means for measuring vehicle inclination. Commonly, tilt or inclination has been mathematically derived from accelerometers; however, there is inherent error in any indirect measurement. This paper reports a bio-inspired tilt sensor that mimics the natural balance organ of jellyfish, called the statocyst. Biological statocysts from the species Aurelia aurita were characterized by scanning electron microscopy to investigate the morphology and size of the natural sensor. An artificial tilt sensor was then developed by using printed electronics that incorporates a novel voltage divider concept in conjunction with small surface mount devices. This sensor was found to have minimum sensitivity of 4.21°with a standard deviation of 1.77°. These results open the possibility of developing elegant tilt sensor architecture for both air and water based platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105015
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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