Mice and rats are able to determine the position of obstacles with a few
touches of their mystacial vibrissae. In this thesis at hand, the animal
vibrissa is modeled as a long slim beam which is allowed to perform large
deflections from its undeformed state. The field of interest thereby is the
support of the beam with respect to the hypothesis, that the animals are
able to control the support stiffness of the hair. This might enable the
animal to perform various task more efficiently. At first, the vibrissa
system is modeled as a one-sided clamped beam. Then, a sweep of this
vibrissa system along a given strictly convex profile is computed. The
formulation of this problem results in a non-linear boundary value problem
with singular Jacobian matrix. From the very beginning, the problem is
treated in an analytical way to the greatest extent. This results in an
equation for the contact point of the beam with the profile. Furthermore,
it is shown that the contact point can be computed using only the support
forces and moments and position of the support (all observables). Due to
the biological paradigm, the clamping as a support is replaced by an
elastic one. Again, this problem is solved mostly analytically and profiles
are reconstructed using various stiffness rates of torsional springs.
Additionally, different ways on how to control this stiffness and the
effect of observables influencing the reconstruction are discussed. It is
shown that even in case of varying stiffness to guarantee bounded bending
moments, the contact point can be computed, and, hence the profile can be
reconstructed.