Biologically Inspired Miniature Robot Locomotion
- Thursday, Jun 21, 2012
- 2:00pm – 3:00pm
- 60 Oxford Street, Room 330 Cambridge, MA 02138
Abstract: Biological systems have evolved to find just-good-enough solutions to survive. By understanding and adapting the underlying principles of these solutions to engineering systems, new miniature mobile robots that can operate in unstructured environments robustly and efficiently are investigated in this presentation. First, various palm-size climbing robot platforms using gecko foot-hairs inspired micro-fiber adhesives as their repeatable and power efficient attachment materials are proposed. Geckos are very agile and robust climbers on wide range of smooth and slightly rough surfaces. Understanding the principle of gecko foot-hair adhesion, synthetic fibrillar adhesives are designed and fabricated. Vertical polyurethane elastomer micro-fiber arrays with mushroom like tip endings are shown to enhance adhesion and friction as strong as gecko foot-hairs on smooth surfaces. Also, angled elastomer micro-fibers with angled tips are proposed to enable highly directional/anisotropic friction and controlled adhesion similar to biological foot-hairs. Next, miniature robots with legged locomotion on water surface are proposed inspired by water striders and basilisk lizards. Water striders can stay on water surface using surface tension based lift forces due to their very hydrophobic hairy supporting legs and can move on water up to 1.5 m/s peak speeds by rowing two side legs. On the other hand, basilisk lizard uses very fast rotation of its two legs with a specific elliptic trajectory at 6-10 Hz frequencies. By slapping and stroking their feet into the water, the lizard lifts and propels its body. Legged robots utilizing similar principles on water surface are proposed and demonstrated. Bio-inspired robots are aimed to enhance our understanding of animal locomotion and also have potential applications in mobile sensor networks, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, and inspection.
- Robert Wood, Ph.D.
- Platform Co-Leader for Bioinspired Robotics and Founding Core Faculty Member, Wyss Institute
- Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- Member of the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology
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