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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...
February 21, 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
Francesco Giorgio-Serchi, Andrea Arienti, Francesco Corucci, Michele Giorelli, Cecilia Laschi
We introduce an octopus-inspired, underwater, soft-bodied robot capable of performing waterborne pulsed-jet propulsion and benthic legged-locomotion. This vehicle consists for as much as 80\% of its volume of rubber-like materials so that structural flexibility is exploited as a key element during both modes of locomotion. The high bodily softness, the unconventional morphology and the non-stationary nature of its propulsion mechanisms require dynamic characterization of this robot to be dealt with by \textit{ad-hoc} techniques...
January 31, 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
Yanghai Nan, Matěj Karásek, Mohamed Lalami, Andre 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...
January 27, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Nathan Slegers, Michael Heilman, Jacob Cranford, Amy Lang, John Yoder, Maria Habegger
It is hypothesized that butterfly wing scale geometry and surface patterning may function to improve aerodynamic efficiency. In order to investigate this hypothesis, a method to measure butterfly flapping kinematics optically over long uninhibited flapping sequences was developed. Statistical results for the climbing flight flapping kinematics of 11 butterflies, based on a total of 236 individual flights, both with and without their wing scales, are presented. Results show, that for each of the 11 butterflies, the mean climbing efficiency decreased after scales were removed...
December 21, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Duo-Neng Liu, Zhong-Xi Hou, Zheng Guo, Xi-Xiang Yang, Xian-Zhong Gao
Albatrosses can make use of the dynamic soaring technique extracting energy from the wind field to achieve large-scale movement without a flap, which stimulates interests in effortless flight with small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). However, mechanisms of energy harvesting in terms of the energy transfer from the wind to the flyer (albatross or UAV) are still indeterminate and controversial when using different reference frames in previous studies. In this paper, the classical four-phase Rayleigh cycle, includes sequentially upwind climb, downwind turn, downwind dive and upwind turn, is introduced in analyses of energy gain with the albatross's equation of motions and the simulated trajectory in dynamic soaring...
December 19, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Zahra M Bagheri, Steven D Wiederman, Benjamin S Cazzolato, Steven Grainger, David C O'Carroll
Robust and efficient target-tracking algorithms embedded on moving platforms, are a requirement for many computer vision and robotic applications. However, deployment of a real-time system is challenging, even with the computational power of modern hardware. As inspiration, we look to biological lightweight solutions-lightweight and low-powered flying insects. For example, dragonflies pursue prey and mates within cluttered, natural environments, deftly selecting their target amidst swarms. In our laboratory, we study the physiology and morphology of dragonfly 'small target motion detector' neurons likely to underlie this pursuit behaviour...
February 16, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Manfred Hartbauer
Modern cars are equipped with both active and passive sensor systems that can detect potential collisions. In contrast, locusts avoid collisions solely by responding to certain visual cues that are associated with object looming. In neurophysiological experiments, I investigated the possibility that the 'collision-detector neurons' of locusts respond to impending collisions in films recorded with dashboard cameras of fast driving cars. In a complementary modelling approach, I developed a simple algorithm to reproduce the neuronal response that was recorded during object approach...
February 15, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
J G Wong, B P laBastide, D E Rival
The growth of leading-edge vortices (LEV) on analogous flapping and rotating profiles has been investigated experimentally. Three time-varying cases were considered: a two-dimensional reference case with a spanwise-uniform angle-of-attack variation α; a case with increasing α towards the profile tip (similar to flapping flyers); and a case with increasing α towards the profile root (similar to rotor blades experiencing an axial gust). It has been shown that the time-varying spanwise angle-of-attack gradient produces a vorticity gradient, which, in combination with spanwise flow, results in a redistribution of circulation along the profile...
February 15, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
C Zhang, C Rossi
Flapping-wing micro air vehicles (FWMAVs) are a class of unmanned aircraft that imitate flight characteristics of natural organisms such as birds, bats, and insects, in order to achieve maximum flight efficiency and manoeuvrability. Designing proper mechanisms for flapping transmission is an extremely important aspect for FWMAVs. Compliant transmission mechanisms have been considered as an alternative to rigid transmission systems due to their lower the number of parts, thereby reducing the total weight, lower energy loss thanks to little or practically no friction among parts, and at the same time, being able to store and release mechanical power during the flapping cycle...
February 15, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Amy W Lang, Emily M Jones, Farhana Afroz
Over many decades the biological surfaces of aquatic swimmers have been studied for their potential as drag reducing surfaces. The hydrodynamic benefit of riblets, or grooves embedded parallel to the flow which appear on surfaces such as shark skin, have been well documented. However the skin of dolphins is embedded with sinusoidal grooves that run perpendicular or transverse to the flow over their bodies. It is theorized that the transverse grooves present on dolphin skin trap vortices between them, creating a partial slip condition over the surface and inducing turbulence augmentation in the boundary layer, thus acting as a potential mechanism to reduce flow separation and thus pressure drag...
February 10, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Gwang-Pil Jung, Hong-Cheol Choi, Kyu-Jin Cho
Inspired by the relationship between leg compliance and jumping performance in the false stick insect, this paper describes how variations in leg compliance and jumping direction affect the performance of a flea-inspired jumping mechanism. The amount of energy lost during jumping was determined by examining the ratio of kinetic energy to input energy (also called conversion efficiency). Leg compliance is modeled based on the compliant mechanics to determine energy transfer during jumping and determined the optimum degree of leg compliance for maximizing performance...
February 10, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Lianjun Wu, Monica Jung de Andrade, Lokesh Kumar Saharan, Richard Steven Rome, Ray H Baughman, Yonas Tadesse
This paper focuses on design, fabrication and characterization of a biomimetic, compact, low-cost and lightweight 3D printed humanoid hand (TCP Hand) that is actuated by twisted and coiled polymeric (TCP) artificial muscles. The TCP muscles were recently introduced and provided unprecedented strain, mechanical work, and lifecycle (Haines et al 2014 Science 343 868-72). The five-fingered humanoid hand is under-actuated and has 16 degrees of freedom (DOF) in total (15 for fingers and 1 at the palm). In the under-actuated hand designs, a single actuator provides coupled motions at the phalanges of each finger...
February 3, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Chengyu Li, Haibo Dong
This study integrates high-speed photogrammetry, 3D surface reconstruction, and computational fluid dynamics to explore a dragonfly (Erythemis Simplicicollis) in free flight. Asymmetric wing kinematics and the associated aerodynamic characteristics of a turning dragonfly are analyzed in detail. Quantitative measurements of wing kinematics show that compared to the outer wings, the inner wings sweep more slowly with a higher angle of attack during the downstroke, whereas they flap faster with a lower angle of attack during the upstroke...
February 3, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
J Geeroms, L Flynn, R Jimenez-Fabian, B Vanderborght, D Lefeber
There are disadvantages to existing damping knee prostheses which cause an asymmetric gait and higher metabolic cost during level walking compared to non-amputees. Most existing active knee prostheses which could benefit the amputees use a significant amount of energy and require a considerable motor. In this work, a novel semi-active actuator with a lockable parallel spring for a prosthetic knee joint has been developed and tested. This actuator is able to provide an approximation of the behavior of a healthy knee during most of the gait cycle of level walking...
February 3, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Paolo Tommasino, Domenico Campolo
In this work, we address human-like motor planning in redundant manipulators. Specifically, we want to capture postural synergies such as Donders' law, experimentally observed in humans during kinematically redundant tasks, and infer a minimal set of parameters to implement similar postural synergies in a kinematic model. For the model itself, although the focus of this paper is to solve redundancy by implementing postural strategies derived from experimental data, we also want to ensure that such postural control strategies do not interfere with other possible forms of motion control (in the task-space), i...
February 3, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Angel Ariel Caputi
Electric fish are privileged animals for bio-inspiring man-built autonomous systems since they have a multimodal sense that allows underwater navigation, object classification and intraspecific communication. Although there are taxon dependent variations adapted to different environments, this multimodal system can be schematically described as having four main components: active electroreception, passive electroreception, lateral line sense and, proprioception. Amongst these sensory modalities, proprioception and electroreception show 'active' systems that extrct information carried by self generated forms of energy...
February 2, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Liang Xu, Han-Qing Chen, Jiang Zou, Wan-Ting Dong, Guo-Ying Gu, Li-Min Zhu, Xiang-Yang Zhu
Biologically inspired robots with inherent softness and body compliance increasingly attract attention in the field of robotics. Aimed at solving existing problems with soft robots, regarding actuation technology and biological principles, this paper presents a soft bio-inspired annelid robot driven by dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) that can advance on flat rigid surfaces. The DEA, a kind of soft functional actuator, is designed and fabricated to mimic the axial elongation and differential friction of a single annelid body segment...
January 31, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
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