This Marine Center will focus on developing a new generation of biomimetic pressure and flow sensors for underwater use, beginning with a velocity sensor that emulates the outstanding sensitivity of the whiskers of harbor seals. The hydrodynamic mechanisms and the structure of the whiskers that seals use to ìseeî and navigate in dark waters has not been explained or exploited. Having studied these structures, we will design velocity sensors able to detect minute flow disturbances. These will then be combined with MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems) based pressure sensors. These new sensors will allow underwater robots and vessels to detect obstacles at very low power consumption with the sensitivity of a live animal.