In this project, we collaborate with researchers in the neuroscience department at the University of Delaware to develop
an Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based embedded computer, inspired by the brains of small vertebrates (fish).
The mechanisms of object detection and avoidance in fish have been extensively studied by our Delaware collaborators.
The midbrain optic tectum is a biological multimodal navigation controller capable of processing input from all senses
that convey spatial information, including vision, audition, touch, and lateral-line (water current sensing in fish).
Unfortunately, computational complexity makes these models too slow for use in real-time applications. These
simulations are run offline on state-of-the-art desktop computers, presenting a gap between the application and the target
platform: a low-power embedded device. EM Photonics has expertise in developing of high-performance computers
based on commodity platforms such as graphic cards (GPUs) and FPGAs. FPGAs offer (1) high computational power,
low power consumption and small footprint (in line with typical autonomous vehicle constraints), and (2) the ability to
implement massively-parallel computational architectures, which can be leveraged to closely emulate biological
systems. Combining UD's brain modeling algorithms and the power of FPGAs, this computer enables autonomous
navigation in complex environments, and further types of onboard neural processing in future applications.