Keynote of Dr. Salmah Karman, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Malaysia

Navigation and finding the way home is very important for people, man-made devices and animals. Humans and animals need to be able to navigate their way around a geographical area in order to find food, participate in social activities, communicate with others and work. There are many kinds of navigation systems in use by human ranging from simple to complex, such as very high frequency (VHF), omnidirectional range (VOR) and the global navigation satellite system (GNSS). The GNSS is the most elaborate operation system for global positioning. The variability of function and integration of the new generation of GNSS has increased market demand for related products. However, the application of GNSS may be limited by a high maintenance cost and lack of signal precision in certain conditions, such as in urban areas. Due to these risks, there is a requirement to develop a navigation system that can operate independently of GNSS while also possessing the performance capabilities of GNSS.
The bioinspired navigation system through biomimetic approach provides the more stable and sustained system compared to the existing system. As in nature, the insects such as honeybees and desert ants used the polarized natural skylight as an information in their navigation activities. The static relationship between electric component vector (E-vector) orientation of skylight and the sun’s azimuth (Brines 1980) is an important characteristic for serving it as sustained and stable navigation cues for insects. The E-vector information collection in crickets and ants is done by the polarization-sensitive photoreceptors in dorsal rim area (DRA) and neuron in optic lobe. Through the engineering processes, the insects’ like polarized light based navigation sensor are developed. The photodetector, linear film polarizer and controller are used to function like the insects’ polarized light - sensitive organs. The calculation principles that are used in the sensor operation were based on the single scattering Rayleigh mode. Future polarized light-based navigation systems that are integrated with new geographical information systems (GIS) could be of particular benefit in medical applications such as to blind people, people bound to a wheelchair, people with Parkinson’s disease and lost people, including children.