An innovative signal processing method to extract ants' walking signals

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Journal Article
Acoustics Australia, 2015, 43 (1), pp. 87 - 96
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© 2015 Australian Acoustical Society. Eusocial insects such as bees, ants and termites communicate multi-modally using chemical, visual, tactile and vibrational cues. While much work has been done on chemical and visual communications, the tactile and vibrational communication channel is somewhat neglected. Recent research indicates that structural vibrations caused by ants can be used to identify their activity level. However, these structural vibrations are caused by the response of the substrate excited by ants walking. The objective of this study is to determine the footprint of ants walking by separating the response of the substrate from the walking signal. The vibration of the substrate (in this case, a wooden veneer) caused by ants walking is measured by a laser vibrometer in an experimental setup isolated from environmental vibrations. By filtering the recorded vibration signal using a technique based on the dynamics in phase space followed by deconvolution from the response of the veneer using Tikhonov regularisation, the ant's walking signal is extracted and its nature determined.
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