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Building exploration with leeches Hirudo verbana

Sirakoulis, Georgios Ch; Adamatzky, Andrew; Sirakoulis, Georgios Ch.


Georgios Ch Sirakoulis

Georgios Ch. Sirakoulis


© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Safe evacuation of people from building and outdoor environments, and search and rescue operations, always will remain actual in course of all socio-technological developments. Modern facilities offer a range of automated systems to guide residents towards emergency exists. The systems are assumed to be infallible. But what if they fail? How occupants not familiar with a building layout will be looking for exits in case of very limited visibility where tactile sensing is the only way to assess the environment? Analogous models of human behaviour, and socio-dynamics in general, are provided to be fruitful ways to explore alternative, or would-be scenarios. Crowd, or a single person, dynamics could be imitated using particle systems, reaction-diffusion chemical medium, electro-magnetic fields, or social insects. Each type of analogous model offer unique insights on behavioural patterns of natural systems in constrained geometries. In this particular paper we have chosen leeches to analyse patterns of exploration. Reasons are two-fold. First, when deprived from other stimuli leeches change their behavioural modes in an automated regime in response to mechanical stimulation. Therefore leeches can give us invaluable information on how human beings might behave under stress and limited visibility. Second, leeches are ideal blueprints of future soft-bodied rescue robots. Leeches have modular nervous circuitry with a rich behavioral spectrum. Leeches are multi-functional, fault-tolerant with autonomous inter-segment coordination and adaptive decision-making. We aim to answer the question: how efficiently a real building can be explored and whether there any dependencies on the pathways of exploration and geometrical complexity of the building. In our case studies we use templates made on the floor plan of real building.


Sirakoulis, G. C., Adamatzky, A., & Sirakoulis, G. C. (2015). Building exploration with leeches Hirudo verbana. BioSystems, 134, 48-55.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Deposit Date Sep 25, 2015
Journal BioSystems
Print ISSN 0303-2647
Electronic ISSN 1872-8324
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 134
Pages 48-55
Keywords leeches, evacuation, bionics, bio-inspired algorithms, living technologies
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