Leeches are fascinating creatures: they have simple modular nervous circuitry yet exhibit a rich spectrum of behavioural modes. Leeches could be ideal blue-prints for designing flexible soft robots which are modular, multi functional, fault-tolerant, easy to control, capable for navigating using optical, mechanical and chemical sensorial inputs, have autonomous inter segmental coordination and adaptive decisionmaking. With future designs of leech-robots in mind we study how leeches behave in geometrically constrained spaces. Core results of the paper deal with leeches exploring a row of rooms arranged along a narrow corridor. In laboratory experiments we find that rooms closer to ends of the corridor are explored by leeches more often than rooms in the middle of the corridor. Also, in series of scoping experiments, we evaluate leeches capabilities to navigating in mazes towards sources of vibration and chemo-attraction. We believe our results lay foundation for future developments of robots mimicking behaviour of leeches.
Adamatzky, A. (2015). On exploration of geometrically constrained space by medicinal leeches Hirudo verbana. BioSystems, 130, 28-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biosystems.2015.02.005