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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, 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 190º...
March 10, 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
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
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
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
Nina Graupner, David Labonte, Heide Humburg, Tayfun Buzkan, Anna Dörgens, Wiebke Kelterer, Jörg Müssig
Here we investigate the mechanical properties and structural design of the pericarp of the green coconut (Cocos nucifera L.). The pericarp showed excellent impact characteristics, and mechanical tests of its individual components revealed gradients in stiffness, strength and elongation at break from the outer to the inner layer of the pericarp. In order to understand more about the potential effect of such gradients on 'bulk' material properties, we designed simple, graded, cellulose fibre-reinforced polylactide (PLA) composites by stacking layers reinforced with fibres of different mechanical properties...
February 28, 2017: Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
F Giorgio-Serchi, A Arienti, F Corucci, M Giorelli, C 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 ad hoc techniques...
February 28, 2017: 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
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