Plants May Supply Unique Materials for Robotic Actuators

Robotic Apple with WormIt’s always fascinating to me that one of the best sources for new ideas in robotics is nature.  Here is another case where living organisms have provided a model for mechanisms in a robot.  In this article from Nanowerk News (click the link below for the full article),  the research leading to this application is detailed.

There are many examples of robots built on the basis of some animal, insect, or plant.  Some examples are snakebots, robofish, and even robobees.  Nature is simply one of the best models for roboticists to follow.

What is your favorite biomimetic robot?  Let me know your ideas.

Engineers developing moveable robot components may soon take advantage of a trick plants use. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) have devised porous materials that could serve as actuators, or motors.

Read More: Materials modelled after plants may help robots to move more naturally

Source:  Nanowerk

Robots That Model the Movements of Schooling Fish

Here is a robot modeled on the movements of fish that travel in schools.  In a story by writer Carrie Melago from the New York Daily News, these robots based on fish are detailed.  What is interesting is that these robots are not really fishbots that swim in the water – they maneuver on dry land.  It is thought that this fish schooling behavior can be modeled by robots in a project to develop safer automobiles.  After all, if you have ever watched schools of fish swimming along, how often to the fish ever have a collision with other fish in the school?  So, this idea may have some merit and a very practical application.  Treat cars traveling on roads like schools of fish to prevent accidents.  And, as you can see from the photo below, these little guys really do resemble the Eve robot from the movie “WALL-E”.  Read the complete story from nydailynews.com  or click on the link below.

alg_robot-cars_eporo

Credit:  Tsuno/Getty

Nissan engineers unveil their 'Eporo' robots in a convoy at a press preview in Yokohama Thursday.

Cool! All-new fish robot
(author unknown)
Thu, 01 Oct 2009 16:47:50 GMT

A New Swimming Robot Based on an Amazonian Fish

Anyone who reads RobotNext knows that one of my favorite topics is robots based on nature.  I believe that the field of bionics (or biomimetics) is where many of the next cutting-edge robot designs will originate.  So many current robots have animals as their models.  Many of these have been written about here.  You can find them in the nature section of the archives.  There are snakebots, fishbots, and ratbots, to name a few.  

This particular robot is based on the Amazonian Knifefish.  Dubbed the Gymnobot, this fishbot is designed to propel itself through the water using a fin.  With this robot, the researchers hope to prove the advantages of using a fin instead of a propellor for moving through the water.  Check out this story at the link to Computerworld below.

Fish Robot Gymnobot

Credit:  University of Bath via PhysOrg.com

Swimming robot mimics Amazonian fish

Last year, the Sintef Group, a research company based in Trondheim, Norway, announced that it was working on a robot based on snakes. The robots, which are
and more »

Swimming robot mimics Amazonian fish – Computerworld
Tue, 22 Sep 2009 05:00:33 GMT

Fishbots: Robots Mimic Swimming Motions of Schools of Fish

Robotic fish that swim like a bass or trout are the latest crossover from biology to robotics.  Mechanical engineers Kamal Youcef-Toumi and Pablo Valdivia Y Alvarado of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  have designed the elegant fishbots to maneuver deftly into areas where more conventional underwater remotely operated or autonomous vehicles are unable to reach. “Schools” of the new robot fish could be utilized to carry-out inspections of underwater structures such as oil and gas pipes; ship’s hulls; and perhaps help detect environmental hazards.  They could also find uses in patrolling ports, rivers, and lakes.  Unlike earlier robotic fish, these robots are much simpler in design and are much more like their natural models.  Read more about these amazing machines in the stories linked below.



Credit:  CNET News

New robots mimic fish's swimming
PhysOrg.com
As part of his doctoral thesis, Valdivia Y Alvarado created a model to calculate the optimal material properties distributions along the robot's body to
Schools of Mini Robofish Swim Where Humans Can'tWired News
MIT dives into robo-fish poolCNET News
MIT researchers create robotic fish for underwater explorationVentureBeat
all 9 news articles »

New robots mimic fish's swimming – PhysOrg.com
Mon, 24 Aug 2009 22:12:25 GMT