Watch tiny bouncing robots simulate Springtail's escape response

Watch tiny bouncing robots simulate Springtail’s escape response

Leaping robots replicate the mechanics of spring-tail movement

The engineers at Georgia Tech have created a file Robot Mimics the tail spring jump motion with the ability to self-correct mid-flight. Tail springs are small, jumping aquatic organisms that can take off, spin, and reorient themselves in mid-air. Measuring 1/16 inch, they can leap impressively at more than ten times their height, with their precise jumping to save them from predators. During the epidemic, Victor Ortega Jimenez would watch and inspect the little Hexapod, which lived in the streams near his house. Taken by their work to avoid a predator, with precise control of their jump, autonomous mid-air, and landing on their feet, the team sought to recreate the mechanics of spring-tails, introducing penny-sized jumping robots.

For the first time, researchers have explored the mechanics of tail-spring motion using a combination of computational and robotic-physical modeling, as well as fluid dynamics experiments. Discover how tail springs have the ability to jump on the surface of the water and land perfectly in the same place. “These unusual creatures of a unique shape live in a very perilous place: the surface of the water,” Said ChBE Assistant Professor Saad Bahmala. Therefore, when they jump out of the water and back into it, we must understand the effects of both hydrodynamics and aerodynamics. How they land perfectly on their feet almost every time on the surface of the water has been the puzzle we put into this paper.

All photos by Georgia Tech Research

Control their jumps like expert acrobats

The secret to the spring tail’s success lies in its unique positioning and attachment for jumping and sticking. Upon takeoff, they adjust the angle of their jumping organ, called the furcula, and then while in the air, their body forms a U-shaped posture. This creates aerodynamic torque, which effectively gives them a subjective right of 20 milliseconds per jump, the fastest of any object Wingless neighborhood. When they land, they land on the colophore, a special appendage of the spring tail that carries water. Colophores are a tube-like structure that holds a drop of water and can stick to surfaces.

This plus is necessary for the tail spring to glide over the surface of the water and land on its feet without bouncing. With high-speed imaging and a mathematical model of the hydrodynamic oscillator force, researchers I calculated how the springtail benefits from colophores for a stable landing. “No one has ever demonstrated empirically the true purpose of colophores, and we are showing that for their very survival,” Ortega Jimenez said. They need this for stability, take-off control but most importantly how to land perfectly like a stuntman.Watch the little jumping robots that mimic the reaction to escape from Springtail

Skydiving skill from the tail of the spring without wings

In a computer simulation, the team demonstrated that by controlling their body angle and velocity, the tail spring glides across the water’s surface with colophores. Springtail cannot become the most abundant non-insect hexapod without being able to control the gymnast-like escape response. In addition to being fascinating to watch, this new understanding of the biomechanics of how tail springs control their jumps, spin in the air, and land safely on water could lead to advances in fields from robotics to aerodynamics, Catherine Dixon, director of programs at the National Science Foundation, said:

After simulations and observations, the researchers created small robots with drag fins to replicate their findings in a physical environment, in collaboration with Professor Ji Sung Koh’s team at Ajo University in South Korea.

“It was quite a challenge for the jumping robots, specifically at small scales, to control their direction in the air in order to land and jump,” Koh said. The discovery in this research could inspire insect-scale jumping robots capable of landing safely and extending the robots’ capability to new terrain, such as the open water surfaces of our planet’s lakes and oceans. The robot’s success rate is up to 75%, which is impressive compared to the 85% for the springtail.

With this discovery, researchers open a new path to what small animals are capable of. There is a belief that due to their small size, they do not have the same amount of control as larger animals. Therefore, we are opening up some control possibilities at such a small scale that could give insight into the origins of flight in living organisms, Ortega Jimenez said.

Watch mini-jumping robots simulate Springtail's clever escape response

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Watch mini-jumping robots simulate Springtail's clever escape response

Watch mini-jumping robots simulate Springtail's clever escape response

Christina Petredo I design a boom

November 10, 2022

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