Octopus-inspired Eight-arm Robotic Swimming by Sculling Movements
ABSTRACT Inspired by the octopus arm morphology and exploiting recordings of swimming octopus, we investigate the propulsive capabilities of an 8-arm robotic system under various swimming gaits, including arm sculling and arm undulations, for the generation of forward propulsion. A dynamical model of the robotic system, that considers fluid drag contributions accurately evaluated by CFD methods, was used to study the effects of various kinematic parameters on propulsion. Exper- iments inside a water tank with an 8-arm robotic prototype successfully demonstrated the sculling-only gaits, attaining a maximum speed of approximately 0.2 body lengths per second. Similar trends were observed, as in the simulation studies, with respect to the effect of the kinematic parameters on propulsion.
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ABSTRACT: Soft materials are not only highly deformable but they also possess rich and diverse body dynamics. Soft body dynamics exhibit a variety of properties, including nonlinearity, elasticity, and potentially infinitely many degrees of freedom. Here we demonstrate that such soft body dynamics can be employed to conduct certain types of computation. Using body dynamics generated from a soft silicone arm, we show that they can be exploited to emulate functions that require memory and to embed robust closed-loop control into the arm. Our results suggest that soft body dynamics have a short-term memory and can serve as a computational resource. This finding paves the way toward exploiting passive body dynamics for control of a large class of underactuated systems.Journal of The Royal Society Interface 06/2014; 11(100). DOI:10.1098/rsif.2014.0437 · 3.86 Impact Factor
Bioinspired Robotics, Frascati, Italy; 06/2014
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ABSTRACT: The fluid dynamics of cephalopods has so far received little attention in the literature, due to their complexity in structure and locomotion. The flow around octopuses, in particular, can be complicated due to their agile and dexterous arms, which frequently display some of the most diverse mechanisms of motion. The study of this flow amounts to a specific instance of the hydrodynamics problem for rough tapered cylinder geometries. The outstanding manipulative and locomotor skills of octopuses could inspire the development of advanced robotic arms, able to operate in fluid environments. Our primary aim was to study the hydrodynamic characteristics of such bio-inspired robotic models and to derive the hydrodynamic force coefficients as a concise description of the vortical flow effects. Utilizing computational fluid dynamic methods, the coefficients were computed on realistic morphologies of octopus-like arm models undergoing prescribed solid-body movements; such motions occur in nature for short durations in time, e.g. during reaching movements and exploratory behaviors. Numerical simulations were performed on translating, impulsively rotating, and maneuvering arms, around which the flow field structures were investigated. The results reveal in detail the generation of complex vortical flow structures around the moving arms. Hydrodynamic forces acting on a translating arm depend on the angle of incidence; forces generated during impulsive rotations of the arms are independent of their exact morphology and the angle of rotation; periodic motions based on a slow recovery and a fast power stroke are able to produce considerable propulsive thrust while harmonic motions are not. Parts of these results have been employed in bio-inspired models of underwater robotic mechanisms. This investigation may further assist elucidating the hydrodynamics underlying aspects of octopus locomotion and exploratory behaviors.Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 04/2014; 18(12):1-19. DOI:10.1080/10255842.2014.900757 · 1.79 Impact Factor