GW Professor Designs Robotic Foreflipper That Mimics Mammal’s Movement, Hoping it Will Aid Mechanical Innovation in Intelligence Community
At a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour, sea lions may not be the fastest-swimming mammal in the sea. But they are unrivaled when it comes to stealth—their signature clap-and-glide flipper motion propels them through water and leaves virtually no wake.
Megan Leftwich, a George Washington University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, took notice of this anomaly during a visit to the Smithsonian National Zoo with her children in 2013. While other mammals use their tails or additional fins to help them swim, leaving wakes, sea lions flip and spin without the added help, and without the wake. Dr. Leftwich wondered how they did it and, being an engineer, she speculated whether researchers could replicate the motion.
“Sea lions swim with their foreflippers, or front flippers, rather than their tail and their propulsive motion is barely detectable,” Dr. Leftwich said. “What we’re trying to do is apply this mechanism to man-made objects. Can we build an underwater vehicle that can go undetected?”
To answer this question, Dr. Leftwich and her team videotaped sea lions swimming at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to capture the foreflipper’s movement frame by frame and track points on their “arms” to mathematically describe the flapping motion. They used the mathematical description to design a plastic robotic arm that mimics a sea lion’s shoulder, elbow and wrist joints.
Then, Dr. Leftwich 3-D scanned and printed a sea lion foreflipper to cover the “arm” with a silicone version of the skin to study the possible effect wrinkles and hairs have on the drag when swimming. These studies were conducted in GW’s Science and Engineering Hall using flow diagnostic techniques to chart the fluid’s movement and the forces it takes for a sea lion to move its foreflipper.
Dr. Leftwich chronicled her research in a paper published last month in the Journal of Aero Aqua Bio-mechanisms. Her next step is to bring the robotic foreflipper to SLEWTHS (Science, Learning and Education With The Help of Sea Lions), a teaching aquarium in California, to test her experiment directly with animals in their natural habitat.
“Observational studies like these are the first step in a research program that will lead to deep understanding of this unique swimming paradigm,” Dr. Leftwich said. “Now that we’ve done the preliminary studies at the National Zoo, we need to test the theories we’ve developed on foreflippers in a lab involving scientifically trained sea lions.”
The Latest on: Mechanical Innovation
via Google News
The Latest on: Mchanical Innovation
- The New Era Of Manufacturing: How Tech Innovations Are Changing The Industryon October 15, 2021 at 11:28 am
Today, workers have access to various types of technology, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and machine learning.
- Nexteer Automotive Named 2021 Automotive News PACEpilot Innovation to Watch for Steer-by-Wire with Stowable Steering Columnon October 15, 2021 at 11:02 am
Nexteer Automotive has been recognized as a 2021 Automotive News PACEpilot Innovation to Watch for its innovative combination of ...
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers Launches Metrix Connect Platformon October 15, 2021 at 10:00 am
Following on these trends, th (ASME) recently announced it is launching a new subsidiary called Metrix Connect with the goal of accelerating collaboration pertaining to digital innovation in industry.
- Innovative Citrate Based Tendon Fixation System Launchedon October 14, 2021 at 11:53 am
Stryker’s Trauma & Extremities Division, headquartered in Mahwah, New Jersey, has launched its Citrelock Tendon Fixation Device System. The new system provides surgeons a differentiated design via a ...
- GreenBroz Inc. To Showcase New Cannabis Post-Harvest Processing Technology at MJBizCon Innovation Booth in Las Vegas October 19-20, 2021on October 14, 2021 at 10:04 am
GreenBroz Inc., the leading-edge developer of cannabis post-harvest processing automation technology, today announced they will kick off MJBizCon 2021 with an all-new exhibit in the Central Hall at ...
- Solvay wins SPE Automotive Award for Slot Insulation Liner EV Innovationon October 13, 2021 at 7:41 am
Three e-mobility applications using Solvay specialty polymers are among the winners of The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) prestigious Automotive Awards in 2021. First place in the ‘New Mobility’ ...
- Chevron, Fab Foundation and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Collaborate to Launch a Fab Labon October 12, 2021 at 1:38 pm
Chevron Corporation announced a major financial contribution in support of two long-standing community partners, Fab Foundation and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Foundation to ...
- Insight: Innovation economy taking shape in Houstonon October 8, 2021 at 4:24 am
Houston-based Renewable Storage Co. hopes to convert cavernous salt domes into giant mechanical batteries, taking electricity from the grid when demand isn’t high to inject massive volumes of ...
- SMIF (Standard Mechanical Interface) Market Dynamic Innovation 2021-2027: Business Insights and Forecast Analysis Reporton October 6, 2021 at 4:05 am
Market assures a treasure of information on a plethora of growth opportunities. The study includes expansive research by expert analysts. All the growth factors revolving around the SMIF (Standard ...
- Industry 4.0 – Tech Trends Driving Innovation in Manufacturingon October 4, 2021 at 11:11 pm
Industry is currently going through a period of change that has been labeled the fourth industrial revolution – or Industry 4.0.
via Bing News