Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hey robot, shimmy like a centipede

22.07.2016

Kyoto University devices mimic creature's surprising unstable advantage

Centipedes move quickly. And when one is coming directly at you, you might not care to spend a moment pondering its agility.


What makes centipedes move with such agility? Researchers at Kyoto University have used simulations and robotics to find the answer -- and a surprising truth.

Credit: Kyoto University

So perhaps our lack of understanding about just why centipedes move with such dexterity, even over obstacles, has been related to fear. But undeterred, researchers at Kyoto University have asked precisely this question, and have turned to computer simulations and ultimately robotics to find an answer.

What they have uncovered is a surprising insight into the mechanics of locomotion itself, namely that taming instability -- a factor that might be a disadvantage -- is a key to the centipede's success.

"During their locomotion, many legs are in contact with the ground to support the body against gravity and produce propulsive and decelerating forces," explains lead scientist Shinya Aoi. "These many legs are physically constrained on the ground, and this constraint can impede their locomotion maneuverability."

Centipedes overcome these constraints by harnessing instability, producing the creature's characteristic undulating movement.

"Our group developed a mathematical model of centipedes and found that the straight walk becomes unstable and body undulations appear through a supercritical Hopf bifurcation by changing the locomotion speed and body axis flexibility," continues Aoi, referring to a mathematical description of the walking system's tipping point from stable to unstable.

First with computer models and then with segmented, multi-legged robots, the team was able to replicate the centipede's movement, including the wave-like body motion, as described in a paper in the online journal Scientific Reports.

But Aoi and his colleagues are not satisfied with merely taming creepy crawlies.

"This study provides clues to unresolved issues of intelligent motor functions of animals, and meaningful insight for biological sciences," he says, pointing out that much remains unknown about the exact mechanics of animal locomotion.

And further down the line, such knowledge could lead to better motion for robots -- no matter how many legs they may have.

Media Contact

David Kornhauser
comms@mail2.adm.kyoto-u.ac.jp
81-075-753-5727

 @KyotoU_News

http://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en 

David Kornhauser | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smart Computers
21.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>