As if cats didn't have large enough egos as it is, now they're going to be strutting around, bragging about being the inspiration for the latest sensory input being squeezed into robots. We might point out to them that other cool animals like rats and walruses have whiskers too, but we're not certain it's going to do any good. All the same, these new robo-whiskers being developed by a research team at Northwestern University are pretty dang neat. The whiskers can sense shapes or the flow of liquid, all based on a single sensor at the base of each whisker. Even more impressively, the whiskers can accurately represent the contour of an object, just by brushing across it. There are plenty of uses for the sensors, such as feeling around in the dark, supplementing cameras and avoiding obstacles. They'll also help researches understand all that fancy whisker-based neurology taking place inside of rats, which we suppose in turn should lead to better bots, which is really the point in the first place, right?