Bio-inspired all-optical artificial neuromast for 2D flow sensing

Ben J. Wolf, Jonathan Andrew Scott Morton, William N. Macpherson, Sietse M. Van Netten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


We present the design, fabrication and testing of a novel all-optical 2D flow velocity sensor, inspired by a fish lateral line neuromast. This artificial neuromast consists of optical fibres inscribed with Bragg gratings supporting a fluid force recipient sphere. Its dynamic response is modelled based on the Stokes solution for unsteady flow around a sphere and found to agree with experimental results. Tuneable mechanical resonance is predicted, allowing a deconvolution scheme to accurately retrieve fluid flow speed and direction from sensor readings. The optical artificial neuromast achieves a low frequency threshold flow sensing of 5 mm s-1 and 5 μm s-1 at resonance, with a typical linear dynamic range of 38 dB at 100 Hz sampling. Furthermore, the optical artificial neuromast is shown to determine flow direction within a few degrees.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026013
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • artificial neuromast
  • bio-inspiration
  • biophysics
  • fibre Bragg grating
  • fluid sensor
  • lateral line
  • optical fibres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Bio-inspired all-optical artificial neuromast for 2D flow sensing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this