An overview of whisking and whisker mechanics is shown in this video from Science Bytes. The video explains some basic mechanical principles, such as how stiffness and distance affect how much the whisker bends. The video also describes how the bending of the whisker underlies the rat's extraordinary sensing capabilities and explains some connections to future developments in robotics.
This interview and video from National Public Radio's program Science Friday explains some ways our laboratory is investigating the sense of touch and sensorimotor integration. When a whisker bends against an object, forces and torques are generated at the whisker base. By quantifying these mechanical signals we are able to begin to understand what information the brain is receiving.
How do animals gather sensory data to perceive the world? This video from the National Science Foundation's Science Nation explores how forces and moments are sensed by the rat's follicle during whisking and how that information is transferred to the brain. It then explores how this information can be applied to robotic whiskers and other robot applications.