Instead of vision, many animals use alternative senses for object detection. Weakly electric fish employ "active
electrolocation", during which they discharge an electric organ emitting electrical current pulses (electric organ
discharges, EOD). Local EODs are sensed by electroreceptors in the fish's skin, which respond to changes of the signal
caused by nearby objects. Fish can gain information about attributes of an object, such as size, shape, distance, and
When close to the fish, each object projects an 'electric image' onto the fish's skin. In order to get information about an
object, the fish has to analyze the object's electric image by sampling its voltage distribution with the electroreceptors.
We now know a great deal about the mechanisms the fish use to gain information about objects in their environment.
Inspired by the remarkable capabilities of weakly electric fish in detecting and recognizing objects with their electric
sense, we are designing technical sensor systems that can solve similar sensing problems. We applied the principles of
active electrolocation to devices that produce electrical current pulses in water and simultaneously sense local current
densities. Depending on the specific task, sensors can be designed which detect an object, localize it in space, determine
its distance, and measure certain object properties such as material properties, thickness, or material faults. We present
first experiments and FEM simulations on the optimal sensor arrangement regarding the sensor requirements e. g.
localization of objects or distance measurements. Different methods of the sensor read-out and signal processing are