A spike-based head-movement and echolocation model of the bat superior colliculus
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Echolocating bats use sonar to sense their environment and hunt for food in darkness. To understand this unusual sensory system from a computational perspective with aspirations towards developing high performance electronic implementations, we study the bat brain. The midbrain superior colliculus (SC) has been shown (in many species) to support multisensory integration and orientation behaviors, namely eye saccades and head turns. Previous computational models of the SC have emphasized the behavior typical to monkeys, barn owls, and cats. Using unique neurobiological data for the bat and incorporating knowledge from other species, a computational spiking model has been developed to produce both head-movement and sonar vocalization. The model accomplishes this with simple neuron equations and synapses, which is promising for implementation on a VLSI chip. This model can serve as a foundation for further developments, using new data from bat experiments, and be easily connected to spiking motor and vocalization systems.