You’ll always get somewhere, if you walk long enough
said the Smiling Cat wisely to Alice in Wonderland. Obviously, in order for a cat to get anywhere, it will need its whiskers, since they function for them as a radar, a GPS Geopositioner. According to Dr. W. Mark Cousins, founder of a veterinary clinic in New Orleans, whiskers are a powerful and important part of how a cat perceives the world – they detect obstacles, measure the width of any holes and walk in the dark.
In this article we will tell you 2 things, that like you, scientists always wanted to know about this subject.
1. Is it important for science to know the functions of cat whiskers?
It is especially useful for Biomimicry, which is the science of imitating nature to develop technology. The whiskers are tactile sensors as each whisker has a large number of very sensitive nerves that help them see and hunt in the dark and calculate the space in their environment. Through the study of these fine sensors, scientists have developed electronic whiskers.
According to Ali Javey, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, these sensors have a variety of applications, such as facilitating communication between machines and humans, detecting joint movements, heartbeat and, in the future, enabling prosthetic legs or hands to interact better with the environment at a tactile level.
2. Are there robots made from cat whiskers?
Yes. One of them is a robot designed on the ability of cats to move and measure the distances of obstacles and calculate the spaces through their whiskers. The robot, presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Stockholm, is equipped with 20 synthetic whiskers to measure spaces and design a map of the site to detect obstacles. Ideal when a rescue robot is needed in a disaster.
Never cut his whiskers, he could become unable to move anywhere, even to his sandbox, fall into a deep hole, be unable to hunt or get lost in the dark.
Finally, you can tell your cat’s mood if he is happy, his whiskers will stay still. If he is angry he pulls them back towards his face and is in hunting mode he will hold them slightly forward.