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Proceedings Paper

Stingray-inspired robot with simply actuated intermediate motion
Author(s): Lincoln Neely; Jack Gaiennie; Nick Noble; Jonathan C. Erickson
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Paper Abstract

Batoids, or rays, utilize unique forms of locomotion that may offer more efficient techniques of motorized propulsion in various marine environments. We present a novel biomimetic engineering design and assembly of a stingray-inspired robot swimmer. The robots locomotion mimics the Dasyatis americana, or southern stingray, whose distinction among rays is its intermediate motion, characterized by sweeping strokes that propagate between 1/2-1 wavelength of the fin profile in the posterior direction. Though oscillatory (<;1/2 wavelength) and undulatory (> wavelengths) ray-based robots have been created, this project demonstrates new engineering possibilities in what is, to the best of our knowledge, the first intermediately propelled batoid-based robot. The robots fins were made of silicone rubber, cast in a 3-D printed mold, with wingspan of 42 cm (1/2 - 1/5 scale for males and females, respectively, scale of model organism). Two anteriorly placed servomotors per fin were used, all controlled by one wirelessly enabled Arduino microcontroller. Each servomotor oscillated a flexible rod with cylindrical joint, whose frequency, speed, and front-back phase delay were user-programmed over wireless connection. During free-swimming tests, the fin profile developed about 0.8 wavelength, qualifying for successful mimicry of its biological inspiration. The robot satisfactorily maintained straight-line motion, reaching average peak velocity of 9.4±1.0 cm/s (0.27−0.03 body lengths/second) at its optimum flapping frequency of 1.4 Hz. This is in the same order of magnitude of speed normalized to body length achieved by others in two recent batoid-based projects. In summary, our robot performed intermediate stingray locomotion with relatively fewer components, which reveals robust potential for innovation of the simple intermediate batoid-based robot swimmer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 April 2016
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9797, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2016, 97970U (22 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2219494
Show Author Affiliations
Lincoln Neely, Washington and Lee Univ. (United States)
Jack Gaiennie, Washington and Lee Univ. (United States)
Nick Noble, Washington and Lee Univ. (United States)
Jonathan C. Erickson, Washington and Lee Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9797:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2016
Raúl J. Martín-Palma; Akhlesh Lakhtakia; Mato Knez, Editor(s)

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