Lobsters use their antennae to navigate among obstacles along the ocean floor. Effective ambulation requires that the lobster, or a biomimetic lobster robot whose behavior is patterned after a real lobster, must distinguish between antenna bending due to contact and bending due to flow. The analysis presented here shows that the key feature appears to be the taper of the antennae. The curvature of a tapered antenna due to an end-load is nearly constant whereas the curvature distribution due to flow is nearly a quadratic function of the arc-length measured from the tip of the antenna.

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