Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ROBO SPACE
Engineering professor looks to whirligig beetle for bio inspired robots
by Staff Writers
Knoxville TN (SPX) Dec 04, 2012


Using high-speed cameras, the researchers observed that the beetles beat their legs in different directions in order to transition from swimming to diving.

Whirligig beetles are named for their whirling movement on top of water, moving rapidly in and taking off into flight. While many may have found the movements curious, scientists have puzzled over the apparatus behind their energy efficiency-until now, thanks to a study performed by a team led by Mingjun Zhang, associate professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

"The propulsive efficiency of the species has been claimed in literature to be one of the highest measured for a thrust-generating apparatus within the animal kingdom," Zhang said. "But nobody knew exactly why, so we conducted a quantitative study with experiment support that uncovered this mystery."

Zhang saw the curious beetle as inspiration for developing energy-efficient propulsion mechanisms for swimming vehicles and robots. His team discovered separate leg functions, alternative patterns of leg propulsion, a unique take-off technique and maximizing surface area as key to the beetle's inner workings.

The findings have been published in this month's PLOS Computational Biology.

His team performed a combination of microscopic high-speed imaging, dynamics modeling and simulations to unlock the beetle's secret.

They discovered each of the beetle's three pairs of legs conducts a different function. Their curved swimming trajectories gained energy efficient over linear trajectories by alternating the ways leg propelled.

Using high-speed cameras, the researchers observed that the beetles beat their legs in different directions in order to transition from swimming to diving.

This provides the force required to alter the angle of the body's tilt and break the surface tension of water. Finally, the swimming legs rely on the extension of "swimming laminae" to increase the surface area and generate larger thrust.

"Nature folds the laminae, or a thin tissue, after the beetle is done moving its legs," Zhang said.

"It extends it when it is propelling to generate thrust. The legs may also be oriented at different angles, so that the maximum area is not perpendicular to the direction in which the beetle is moving. I am always amazed how nature does this with the small organism."

Zhang's team looks to nature for inspiration in engineering. By studying the movements of the whirligig beetle, the team is applying nature's principles to bio-inspired swimming and diving robots.

He is designing the robots for the Office of Naval Research through their Young Investigator Program award which he received in 2011. The award gives him $170,000 in annual research grants for three years.

.


Related Links
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROBO SPACE
Robot buddy to keep Japan astronaut company
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 30, 2012
A small humanoid robot that can talk will be sent into space to provide conversational company for a Japanese astronaut on a six-month mission, according to new plans. The miniature robot will arrive at the International Space Station next summer, a few months ahead of astronaut Koichi Wakata, Japan's Kibo (Hope) Robot Project office said Thursday. At 34 centimetres (13.4 inches) tall an ... read more


ROBO SPACE
WSU researchers use 3-D printer to make parts from moon rock

China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year

Moon crater yields impact clues

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

ROBO SPACE
NASA Mars Rover Fully Analyzes First Soil Samples

Curiosity Shakes, Bakes, and Tastes Mars with SAM

China prepares to grow vegetables on Mars: state media

Opportunity Gets to Work on Interesting Rock Targets

ROBO SPACE
SciTechTalk: Media fixes for space junkies

NASA Voyager 1 Encounters New Region in Deep Space

Voyager discovers 'magnetic highway' at edge of solar system

Why Study Plants in Space?

ROBO SPACE
Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

ROBO SPACE
Space Station to reposition for science

Spacewalks on agenda for new space crew

NASA, Roscosmos Assign Veteran Crew to Yearlong Space Station Mission

Three ISS crew return to Earth in Russian capsule

ROBO SPACE
S. Korea readies new bid to join global space club

Arianespace Lofts Pleiades 1B Using Soyuz Medium-lift launcher

Japan Schedules Radar Satellite Launch

Arianespace ready for next Soyuz and Ariane missions

ROBO SPACE
Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

Astronomers report startling find on planet formation

A Sky Full of Planets

ROBO SPACE
Android extends global smartphone lead: survey

Experiment yields possible 'spooky' matter

ORNL develops lignin-based thermoplastic conversion process

Sender of first text message 'amazed' 20 years on




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement