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Bioinspiration & Biomimetics

Elisa Donati, Martin Worm, Stefano Mintchev, Marleen van der Wiel, Giovanni Benelli, Gerhard von der Emde, Cesare Stefanini
A robotic fish has been developed to create a mixed bio-hybrid system made up of weakly electric fish and a mobile dummy fish. Weakly electric fish are capable of interacting with each other via sequences of self-generated electric signals during electrocommunication. Here we present the design of an artificial dummy fish, which is subsequently tested in behavioural experiments. The robot consists of two parts: a flexible tail that can move at different frequencies and amplitudes, performing a carangiform oscillation, and a rigid head containing the motor for the tail oscillation...
December 1, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Peter Fratzl, Thomas Speck, Stanislav Gorb
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 29, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Anna M Kohl, Eleni Kelasidi, Alireza Mohammadi, Manfredi Maggiore, Kristin Y Pettersen
This paper investigates the problem of planar maneuvering control for bio-inspired underwater snake robots that are exposed to unknown ocean currents. The control objective is to make a neutrally buoyant snake robot which is subject to hydrodynamic forces and ocean currents converge to a desired planar path and traverse the path with a desired velocity. The proposed feedback control strategy enforces virtual constraints which encode biologically inspired gaits on the snake robot configuration. The virtual constraints, parametrized by states of dynamic compensators, are used to regulate the orientation and forward speed of the snake robot...
November 24, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Dan Liang, Xuan-Yin Wang
A bio-inspired optical imaging system with a polymer membrane and integrated structure is proposed. Similar to the human eye, the presented system has a biomimetic multilayered optical structure and utilizes a solid-liquid mixed tunable lens as the variable-focus unit. The focal length of the imaging system can be adjusted flexibly through the deformation of the tunable lens when it is compressed. A detailed description of the design principle, materials and fabrication process of the system is presented. The deformation property, adjustable range and surface roughness of the tunable lens are measured...
November 23, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Stefano Mafrica, Alain Servel, Franck Ruffier
Here we present a novel bio-inspired optic flow (OF) sensor and its application to visual  guidance and odometry on a low-cost car-like robot called BioCarBot. The minimalistic OF sensor was robust to high-dynamic-range lighting conditions and to various visual patterns encountered thanks to its M(2)APIX auto-adaptive pixels and the new cross-correlation OF algorithm implemented. The low-cost car-like robot estimated its velocity and steering angle, and therefore its position and orientation, via an extended Kalman filter (EKF) using only two downward-facing OF sensors and the Ackerman steering model...
November 10, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Kaman Thapa Magar, Gregory W Reich, Corey Kondash, Keith Slinker, Alexander M Pankonien, Jeffery W Baur, Brian Smyers
Distributed arrays of artificial hair sensors have bio-like sensing capabilities to obtain spatial and temporal surface flow information which is an important aspect of an effective fly-by-feel system. The spatiotemporal surface flow measurement enables further exploration of additional flow features such as flow stagnation, separation, and reattachment points. Due to their inherent robustness and fault tolerant capability, distributed arrays of hair sensors are well equipped to assess the aerodynamic and flow states in adverse conditions...
November 10, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Michael Meller, Jordan Chipka, Alexander Volkov, Matthew Bryant, Ephrahim Garcia
Hydraulic control systems have become increasingly popular as the means of actuation for human-scale legged robots and assistive devices. One of the biggest limitations to these systems is their run time untethered from a power source. One way to increase endurance is by improving actuation efficiency. We investigate reducing servovalve throttling losses by using a selective recruitment artificial muscle bundle comprised of three motor units. Each motor unit is made up of a pair of hydraulic McKibben muscles connected to one servovalve...
November 3, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
E Thompson-Bean, R Das, A McDaid
We present a novel methodology for the design and manufacture of complex biologically inspired soft robotic fluidic actuators. The methodology is applied to the design and manufacture of a prosthetic for the hand. Real human hands are scanned to produce a 3D model of a finger, and pneumatic networks are implemented within it to produce a biomimetic bending motion. The finger is then partitioned into material sections, and a genetic algorithm based optimization, using finite element analysis, is employed to discover the optimal material for each section...
October 31, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Michael Pieroni, Clara Lagomarsini, Danilo De Rossi, Federico Carpi
Electrically tunable lenses are conceived as deformable adaptive optical components able to change focus without motor-controlled translations of stiff lenses. In order to achieve large tuning ranges, large deformations are needed. This requires new technologies for the actuation of highly stretchable lenses. This paper presents a configuration to obtain compact tunable lenses entirely made of soft solid matter (elastomers). This was achieved by combining the advantages of dielectric elastomer actuation (DEA) with a design inspired by the accommodation of reptiles and birds...
October 26, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Nayeon Lee, M F Horstemeyer, R Prabhu, Jun Liao, Hongjoo Rhee, Youssef Hammi, Robert D Moser, Lakiesha N Williams
In this study a woodpecker's hyoid apparatus was characterized to determine its impact mitigation mechanism using finite element (FE) analysis. The woodpecker's hyoid apparatus, comprising bone and muscle, has a unique geometry compared to those of other birds. The hyoid starts at the beak tip, surrounds the woodpecker's skull, and ends at the upper beak/front head intersection while being surrounded by muscle along the whole length. A FE model of the hyoid apparatus was created based on the geometry, microstructure, and mechanical properties garnered from our experimental measurements...
October 25, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
H Lu, K B Lua, Y J Lee, T T Lim, K S Yeo
This paper reports the results of combined experimental and numerical studies on the ground effect on a pair of three-dimensional (3D) hovering wings. Parameters investigated include hovering kinematics, wing shapes, and Reynolds numbers (Re). The results are consistent with the observation by another study (Gao and Lu, 2008 Phys. Fluids, 20 087101) which shows that the cycle-averaged aerodynamic forces generated by two-dimensional (2D) wings in close proximity to the ground can be broadly categorized into three regimes with respect to the ground clearance; force enhancement, force reduction, and force recovery...
October 25, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Kai Yang, Gangfeng Liu, Jihong Yan, Tao Wang, Xinbin Zhang, Jie Zhao
The highly efficient and agile water-surface locomotion of water striders has attracted substantial research attention. Compared with imitating the horizontal rowing motion, imitating the jumping capability of water striders is much more challenging because the strong interaction in the jumping process easily causes the robot to sink. This study focuses on designing a miniature robot capable of continuously jumping on the water surface. A spring-based actuating mechanism is proposed to produce a large jumping force...
October 21, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Federico Pedraja, Rossana Perrone, Ana Silva, Ruben Budelli
Agonistic behaviour related to territorial defence is likely to be costly in terms of energy loss and risk of injury. Hence information about the fighting ability of a potential opponent could influence the outcome of the contest. We here study electric images of the territorial and aggressive weakly electric fish Gymnotus omarorum in the context of agonistic behaviour. We show that passive and active electric images may drive the approach towards an opponent. The likelihood of first attacks can be predicted in these fish based on electric image information, suggesting that aggressive interactions may in fact be triggered through the passive electrosensory information...
October 21, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Roberto Martini, Francois Barthelat
Protective systems that are simultaneously hard to puncture and compliant in flexion are desirable, but difficult to achieve because hard materials are usually stiff. However, we can overcome this conflicting design requirement by combining plates of a hard material with a softer substrate, and a strategy which is widely found in natural armors such as fish scales or osteoderms. Man-made segmented armors have a long history, but their systematic implementation in a modern and a protective system is still hampered by a limited understanding of the mechanics and the design of optimization guidelines, and by challenges in cost-efficient manufacturing...
October 13, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Daniel Van Opdenbosch, Gerhard Fritz-Popovski, Johann Plank, Cordt Zollfrank, Oskar Paris
Living nature and human technology apply different principles to create hard, strong and tough materials. In this review, we compare and discuss prominent aspects of these alternative strategies, and demonstrate for selected examples that nanoscale-precision biotemplating is able to produce uncommon mechanical properties as well as actuating behavior, resembling to some extent the properties of the original natural templates. We present and discuss mechanical testing data showing for the first time that nanometer-precision biotemplating can lead to porous ceramic materials with deformation characteristics commonly associated with either biological or highly advanced technical materials...
October 13, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Maarja Kruusmaa, Guillaume Rieucau, José Carlos Castillo Montoya, Riho Markna, Nils Olav Handegard
So far, actuated fish models have been used to study animal interactions in small-scale controlled experiments. This study, conducted in a semi-controlled setting, investigates robot(5) interactions with a large wild-caught marine fish school (∼3000 individuals) in their natural social environment. Two towed fish robots were used to decouple size, tail motion and speed in a series of sea-cage experiments. Using high-resolution imaging sonar and sonar-video blind scoring, we monitored and classified the school's collective reaction towards the fish robots as attraction or avoidance...
October 6, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Viraj G Damle, Rubin Linder, Xiaoda Sun, Nicholas Kemme, Lucas C Majure, Konrad Rykaczewski
Many varieties of the cabbage family have leaves covered with superhydrophobic epicuticular wax, which provides them with self-cleaning characteristics. Since the wax also lowers insect adhesion, rinsing of the leaves with water should be an effective way of removing the insects. Conversely, we report that superhydrophobicity of tuscan kale increases resistance of aphids to hydrodynamic removal. The exterior surface of the insects is also superhydrophobic and acts as an extension of the leaf's surface. As a result even at moderate impact velocities impinging water drops cannot penetrate under the pests...
October 3, 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
C Abels, A Qualtieri, M De Vittorio, W M Megill, F Rizzi
To enhance today's artificial flow sensing capabilities in aerial and underwater robotics, future robots could be equipped with a large number of miniaturized sensors distributed over the surface to provide high resolution measurement of the surrounding fluid flow. In this work we show a linear array of closely separated bio-inspired micro-electro-mechanical flow sensors whose sensing mechanism is based on a piezoresistive strain-gauge along a stress-driven cantilever beam, mimicking the biological superficial neuromasts found in the lateral line organ of fishes...
June 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Ulrich Tritschler, Igor Zlotnikov, Peter Fratzl, Helmut Schlaad, Simon Grüner, Helmut Cölfen
Bio-inspired Laponite (clay)-liquid crystal (LC) polymer composite materials with high clay fractions (>80%) and a high level of orientation of the clay platelets, i.e. with structural features similar to the ones found in natural nacre, have been shown to exhibit a promising behavior in the context of reduced oxygen transmission. Key characteristics of these bio-inspired composite materials are their high inorganic content, high level of exfoliation and orientation of the clay platelets, and the use of a LC polymer forming the organic matrix in between the Laponite particles...
June 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
M Percin, B W van Oudheusden, G C H E de Croon, B Remes
The study investigates the aerodynamic performance and the relation between wing deformation and unsteady force generation of a flapping-wing micro air vehicle in hovering flight configuration. Different experiments were performed where fluid forces were acquired with a force sensor, while the three-dimensional wing deformation was measured with a stereo-vision system. In these measurements, time-resolved power consumption and flapping-wing kinematics were also obtained under both in-air and in-vacuum conditions...
June 2016: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
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