Paper: The mathematical whisker: A review of numerical models of the rat׳s vibrissa biomechanics

Facundo A. Lucianna, Ana L. Albarracín, Sonia M Vrech, Fernando D. Farfán, Carmelo J. Felice
Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience. 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.05.019


The vibrissal system of the rat refers to specialized hairs the animal uses for tactile sensory perception. Rats actively move their whiskers in a characteristic way called “whisking”. Interaction with the environment produces elastic deformation of the whiskers, generating mechanical signals in the whisker–follicle complex. Advances in our understanding of the vibrissal complex biomechanics is of interest not only for the biological research field, but also for biomimetic approaches. The recent development of whisker numerical models has contributed to comprehending its sophisticated movements and its interactions with the follicle. The great diversity of behavioral patterns and complexities of the whisker–follicle ensemble encouraged the creation of many different biomechanical models. This review analyzes most of the whisker biomechanical models that have been developed so far. This review was written so as to render it accessible to readers coming from different research areas.

Avalaible in: ScienceDirect