Flight Control in the Dragonfly: A Neurobiological Simulation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 3 (NIPS 1990)

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William Faller, Marvin Luttges


Neural network simulations of the dragonfly flight neurocontrol system have been developed to understand how this insect uses complex, unsteady aerodynamics. The simulation networks account for the ganglionic spatial distribution of cells as well as the physiologic operating range and the stochastic cellular fIring history of each neuron. In addition the motor neuron firing patterns, "flight command sequences", were utilized. Simulation training was targeted against both the cellular and flight motor neuron firing patterns. The trained networks accurately resynthesized the intraganglionic cellular firing patterns. These in tum controlled the motor neuron fIring patterns that drive wing musculature during flight. Such networks provide both neurobiological analysis tools and fIrst generation controls for the use of "unsteady" aerodynamics.