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Bioinspiration & Biomimetics

Nicholas Stephen Szczecinski, Roger Quinn
We previously developed a neural controller for one leg of our six-legged robot, MantisBot, that could direct locomotion toward a goal by modulating leg-local reflexes with simple descending commands from a head sensor. In this work, we successfully apply an automated method to tune the control network for all three pairs of legs of our hexapod robot MantisBot in only 90 seconds with a desktop computer. Each foot's motion changes appropriately as the body's intended direction of travel changes. In addition, several results from studies of walking insects are captured by this model...
April 19, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Bokeon Kwak, Joonbum Bae
Locomotion of water beetles have been widely studied in biology owing to their remarkable swimming skills. Inspired by the oar-like legs of water beetles, designing a robot that swims under the principle of drag-powered propulsion can lead to highly agile mobility. But its motion can easily be discontinuous and jerky due to backward motions (i.e., retraction) of the legs. Here we proposed novel hair-like appendages and considered their coordination to achieve steady and efficient swimming on the water surface...
April 11, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Ali Ahrari, Hong Lei, Montassar Sharif, Kalyanmoy Deb, Xiaobo Tan
Inspired by the lateral line of aquatic vertebrates, an artificial lateral line (ALL) system can localize and track an underwater moving object by analyzing the ambient flow caused by its motion. There are several studies on object detection, localization and tracking by ALL systems, but only a few have investigated the optimal design of the ALL system, the one that on average provides the highest characterization accuracy. Design optimization is particularly important because the uncertainties in the employed flow model and in sensor measurements deteriorate the reliability of sensing...
March 28, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Glenn Mathijssen, Tom Verstraten, Cyprian Espinoza, Simon Beckers, Dirk Lefeber, Bram Vanderborght, Raphaël Furnémont
On compliant actuators, intermittent series-parallel elastic actuators (iSPEA) can reduce motor load by variable load cancellation through recruitment of parallel springs by a single motor. However, the potential to reduce electric energy consumed, compared to a traditional stiff driven joint has not yet been evaluated thoroughly both in simulations and experiments. We have developed a 1 DOF MACCEPA-based iSPEA test bench with a self-closing intermittent mechanism. An iSPEA driven warehouse robot is used as a case study in simulation...
March 13, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Hoang Vu Phan, Quang Tri Truong, Hoon Cheol Park
This work presents a parametric study to find a proper wing configuration for achieving economic flight by using unsteady blade element theory, which is based on the three-dimensional kinematics of a flapping wing. Power loading was first considered as a performance parameter for the study. The power loadings at each wing section along the wingspan were obtained for various geometric angles of attacks (AoAs) by calculating the ratios of the vertical forces generated and the powers consumed by that particular wing section...
March 10, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Isaac Yeaton, Jake Socha, Shane Ross
Gliding flight - moving horizontally downward through the air without power - has evolved in a broad diversity of taxa and serves numerous ecologically relevant functions such as predator escape, expanding foraging locations, and finding mates, and has been suggested as an evolutionary pathway to powered flight. Historically, gliding has been conceptualized using the idealized conditions of equilibrium, in which the net aerodynamic force on the glider balances its weight. While this assumption is appealing for its simplicity, recent studies of glide trajectories have shown that equilibrium gliding is not the norm for most species...
February 16, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Sardar Malek, Jordan Raney, Jennifer Lewis, Lorna Gibson
Additive manufacturing technologies offer new ways to fabricate cellular materials with composite cell walls, mimicking the structure and mechanical properties of woods. However, materials limitations and a lack of design tools have confined the usefulness of 3D printed cellular materials. We develop new carbon fiber reinforced, epoxy inks for 3D printing which result in printed materials with longitudinal Young's modulus up to 57 GPa (exceeding the longitudinal modulus of wood cell wall material). To guide the design of hierarchical cellular materials, we developed a parameterized, multi-scale, finite element model...
February 13, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Qiang Zhu, Xiaobo Bi
Using a fluid-structure interaction model, we study the effect of ray stiffness distribution on the deformation and performance of a caudal fin. By prescribing a simple swaying motion, our results show that through passive structural deformation alone it is possible to reproduce some complicated fin movements (e.g. the cup and "W''-shape deformations) observed in real fish. Moreover, it has been numerically shown that compared with the fin with uniform ray stiffness, at the same (average) ray stiffness the fins with nonuniform stiffness distribution may achieve further performance enhancement, e...
January 31, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Takeshi Kano, Kazuhiko Sakai, Kotaro Yasui, Dai Owaki, Akio Ishiguro
Legged animals exhibit adaptive and resilient locomotion through interlimb coordination. The long-term goal of this study is to clarify the relationship between the number of legs and the inherent decentralized control mechanism for interlimb coordination. As a preliminary step, the study focuses on millipedes as they represent the species with the greatest number of legs among various animal species. A decentralized control mechanism involving local force feedback was proposed based on the qualitative findings of behavioural experiments in which responses to the removal of part of the terrain and leg amputation were observed...
April 4, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Zhenshan Bing, Long Cheng, Guang Chen, Florian Röhrbein, Kai Huang, Alois Knoll
Snake-like robots with 3D locomotion ability have significant advantages of adaptive travelling in diverse complex terrain over traditional legged or wheeled mobile robots. Despite numerous developed gaits, these snake-like robots suffer from unsmooth gait transitions by changing the locomotion speed, direction, and body shape, which would potentially cause undesired movement and abnormal torque. Hence, there exists a knowledge gap for snake-like robots to achieve autonomous locomotion. To address this problem, this paper presents the smooth slithering gait transition control based on a lightweight central pattern generator (CPG) model for snake-like robots...
April 4, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Hoang Vu Phan, Taesam Kang, Hoon Cheol Park
An insect-like tailless flapping wing micro air vehicle (FW-MAV) without feedback control eventually becomes unstable after takeoff. Flying an insect-like tailless FW-MAV is more challenging than flying a bird-like tailed FW-MAV, due to the difference in control principles. This work introduces the design and controlled flight of an insect-like tailless FW-MAV, named KUBeetle. A combination of four-bar linkage and pulley-string mechanisms was used to develop a lightweight flapping mechanism that could achieve a high flapping amplitude of approximately 190°...
April 4, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Jong-Seob Han, Jo Won Chang, Jae-Hung Han
This paper proposes a semi-empirical quasi-steady aerodynamic model of a flapping wing in forward flight. A total of 147 individual cases, which consisted of advance ratios J of 0 (hovering), 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1 and  ∞, and angles of attack α of  -5 to 95° at intervals of 5°, were examined to extract the aerodynamic coefficients. The Polhamus leading-edge suction analogy and power functions were then employed to establish the aerodynamic model. In order to preserve the existing level of simplicity, K P and K V, the correction factors of the potential and vortex force models, were rebuilt as functions of J and α...
March 31, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Gil Iosilevskii
An undulatory swimming gait is characterized by short lateral displacement waves that propagate backwards along the body of the swimmer faster than it swims. Hydrodynamic theory of elongated bodies predicts that if the amplitude of the displacement waves does not increase toward the caudal end, the part of the swimmer posteriad of the dorso-ventrally widest point takes no part in propulsion. It also predicts that if the amplitude does increase, then the hydrodynamic propulsion efficiency suffers. Cusk eels have their widest point located in the anterior half of the body with the bulk of their locomotive muscles located posteriad of it; indeed, they swim so that the amplitude of the propulsion wave increases toward the caudal end...
March 31, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Guido Novati, Siddhartha Verma, Dmitry Alexeev, Diego Rossinelli, Wim M van Rees, Petros Koumoutsakos
The coordinated motion by multiple swimmers is a fundamental component in fish schooling. The flow field induced by the motion of each self-propelled swimmer implies non-linear hydrodynamic interactions among the members of a group. How do swimmers compensate for such hydrodynamic interactions in coordinated patterns? We provide an answer to this riddle though simulations of two, self-propelled, fish-like bodies that employ a learning algorithm to synchronise their swimming patterns. We distinguish between learned motion patterns and the commonly used a-priori specified movements, that are imposed on the swimmers without feedback from their hydrodynamic interactions...
March 29, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Nicholas A Battista, W Christopher Strickland, Laura A Miller
The development of fluid-structure interaction (FSI) software involves trade-offs between ease of use, generality, performance, and cost. Typically there are large learning curves when using low-level software to model the interaction of an elastic structure immersed in a uniform density fluid. Many existing codes are not publicly available, and the commercial software that exists usually requires expensive licenses and may not be as robust or allow the necessary flexibility that in house codes can provide...
March 29, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Wei Wang, Jindong Liu, Guangming Xie, Li Wen, Jianwei Zhang
Weakly electric fishes (Gymnotid and Mormyrid) use an electric field to communicate efficiently (termed electrocommunication) in the turbid waters of confined spaces where other communication modalities fail. Inspired by this biological phenomenon, we design an artificial electrocommunication system for small underwater robots and explore the capabilities of such an underwater robotic communication system. An analytical model for electrocommunication is derived to predict the effect of the key parameters such as electrode distance and emitter current of the system on the communication performance...
March 29, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Guillermo J Amador, Marguerite Matherne, D'Andre Waller, Megha Mathews, Stanislav N Gorb, David L Hu
While insect grooming has been observed and documented for over one hundred years, we present the first quantitative analysis of this highly dynamic process. Pollinating insects, like honey bees, purposely cover themselves with millions of pollen particles that, if left ungroomed, would make sensing and controlled flight difficult. How do they get clean? We show that the hairs on insect eyes are tuned to the pollen they collect; namely, the hairs are spaced so that they suspend pollen above the body for easy removal by the forelegs...
March 23, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Jascha U Schmied, Hortense Le Ferrand, Paolo Ermanni, André R Studart, Andres F Arrieta
The development of programmable self-shaping materials enables the onset of new and innovative functionalities in many application fields. Commonly, shape adaptation is achieved by exploiting diffusion-driven swelling or nano-scale phase transition, limiting the change of shape to slow motion predominantly determined by the environmental conditions and/or the materials specificity. To address these shortcomings, we report shape adaptable programmable shells that undergo morphing via a snap-through mechanism inspired by the Dionaea muscipula leaf, known as the Venus fly trap...
March 13, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Leonardo Ricotti, Toshinori Fujie
This paper aims to describe the disruptive potential that polymeric thin films have in the field of biohybrid devices and to review the recent efforts in this area. Thin (thickness  <  1 mm) and ultra-thin (thickness  <  1 µm) matrices possess a series of intriguing features, such as large surface area/volume ratio, high flexibility, chemical and physical surface tailorability, etc. This enables the fabrication of advanced bio/non-bio interfaces able to efficiently drive cell-material interactions, which are the key for optimizing biohybrid device performances...
March 6, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Yanghai Nan, Matěj Karásek, Mohamed Esseghir Lalami, André Preumont
Flapping wing micro air vehicles (MAVs) take inspiration from natural fliers, such as insects and hummingbirds. Existing designs manage to mimic the wing motion of natural fliers to a certain extent; nevertheless, differences will always exist due to completely different building blocks of biological and man-made systems. The same holds true for the design of the wings themselves, as biological and engineering materials differ significantly. This paper presents results of experimental optimization of wing shape of a flexible wing for a hummingbird-sized flapping wing MAV...
March 6, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
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