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Biomimetic Worm with Musclewire

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  • J Wolfgang Goerlich
    Anyone up to the challenge of making a Beam version? Robot worm laughs off your attempts to squash it dead
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 12, 2012
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      Anyone up to the challenge of making a Beam version?


      Robot worm laughs off your attempts to squash it dead
      http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57491417-1/robot-worm-laughs-off-your-attempts-to-squash-it-dead/

      From snakes to fish to cheetahs, we've seen a veritable Noah's Ark of biomimetic robots in recent years, and now researchers have turned to the lowly earthworm for inspiration.

      Meshworm is a squishy, sluglike droid that stretches and squeezes its artificial muscles to move forward. This peristalsis is similar to how worms travel and how your guts move food around.

      Researchers at Harvard University, MIT, and Seoul National University say Meshworm could squeeze its way into tight spaces and over uneven terrain. Natch, the research is funded by DARPA, so there are potential military apps. Robo-slug spies, perhaps?

      The crawler could also have medical applications, such as implants, endoscopes, and prosthetics.

      But one of its most remarkable features is that it can take quite a beating. As seen in the video below, researchers stepped on it and even took a hammer to it, but Meshworm inched away unscathed.
      Meshworm's locomotion is the product of an interesting bit of engineering, described in the journal IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.

      The machine is an artificial muscle made up of a polymer mesh tube wrapped with nickel-titanium wire. It runs on an internal battery and circuit board.

      When a small electric current is applied to parts of the wire, it heats up, making the wire pliable but only enough so that it returns to its original shape after bending.

      The researchers developed algorithms that control the heating or cooling to parts of the wire, in effect directing the motion of the worm. Meanwhile, wires that run the length of the worm make it go left or right with temperature changes.

      Meshworm is simple compared with a real worm, but the technology could see widespread use even in consumer electronics, MIT quoted Lewis & Clark College biology professor Kellar Autumn as saying.

      "I predict that in the next decade we will see shape-changing artificial muscles in many products, such as mobile phones, portable computers, and automobiles," Autumn said.

      Now who wouldn't love to hammer all the above?
    • Richard Piotter
      I built the old BORIS muscle wire kit years ago. The one thing I learned, is it s power hungry stuff. I always hoped they d come up with an affordable shape
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 12, 2012
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        I built the old "BORIS" muscle wire kit years ago. The one thing I
        learned, is it's power hungry stuff. I always hoped they'd come up
        with an affordable shape memory... polymer??? more efficient alloy???
        that didn't rely on heating, but rather reacted to the current flow
        itself.

        The catch with NiTi wire is that you are LITERALLY generating a low
        resistance near short to heat it up. It's like a lower power variant
        of a toaster. I could not mount batteries to BORIS and still have it
        move. It had to be tethered with an umbilical cable. I do believe I
        could create a drive circuit and reduce the weight of the umbilical by
        reducing the wire count, and with Lithium Ion batteries, it might now
        be possible to mount a battery to it that can drive it.

        Still doesn't change the fact that it's a very power hungry medium.

        It actually makes me a little sad to hear that after all these
        years... NiTi wire is STILL the material of choice for Shape Memory
        actuation.

        Richard Piotter
      • mikerobe@rogers.com
        Hackaday posted the worm bot today to http://hackaday.com/2012/08/12/earthworm-robot-does-what-earthworms-do/ Mike Robertson Sent from my BlackBerry®
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 12, 2012
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          Hackaday posted the worm bot today to

          http://hackaday.com/2012/08/12/earthworm-robot-does-what-earthworms-do/

          Mike Robertson

          Sent from my BlackBerry® PlayBook™


          From: "Richard Piotter" <richfiles1@...>
          To: "beam@yahoogroups.com" <beam@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: 12 August, 2012 5:28 PM
          Subject: Re: [beam] Biomimetic Worm with Musclewire

           

          I built the old "BORIS" muscle wire kit years ago. The one thing I
          learned, is it's power hungry stuff. I always hoped they'd come up
          with an affordable shape memory... polymer??? more efficient alloy???
          that didn't rely on heating, but rather reacted to the current flow
          itself.

          The catch with NiTi wire is that you are LITERALLY generating a low
          resistance near short to heat it up. It's like a lower power variant
          of a toaster. I could not mount batteries to BORIS and still have it
          move. It had to be tethered with an umbilical cable. I do believe I
          could create a drive circuit and reduce the weight of the umbilical by
          reducing the wire count, and with Lithium Ion batteries, it might now
          be possible to mount a battery to it that can drive it.

          Still doesn't change the fact that it's a very power hungry medium.

          It actually makes me a little sad to hear that after all these
          years... NiTi wire is STILL the material of choice for Shape Memory
          actuation.

          Richard Piotter

        • connor_ramsey@ymail.com
          ... Well there are still electroactive polymers. They re much faster, stronger, more efficient, and I suspect that they only draw as much current as is needed
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 29, 2012
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            --- In beam@yahoogroups.com, Richard Piotter <richfiles1@...> wrote:
            >
            > I built the old "BORIS" muscle wire kit years ago. The one thing I
            > learned, is it's power hungry stuff. I always hoped they'd come up
            > with an affordable shape memory... polymer??? more efficient alloy???

            Well there are still electroactive polymers. They're much faster, stronger, more efficient, and I suspect that they only draw as much current as is needed to operate a load.

            Completely off topic, does anyone know what happens when you couple two suspended bicores together rather than a master/slave setup? I'm very curious to know, and I'm about to find out myself, but I'd rather take it from one of you guys first.
          • Amit
            Your suspended bicores will oscillate independently with some influence on each other due to the strength of the linkage and which bicore oscillates faster.
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 29, 2012
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              Your suspended bicores will oscillate independently with some influence on each other due to the strength of the linkage and which bicore oscillates faster. You'll have to play around.

              They called it the Corpus Callosom, the resistor linking two suspended bicores. I think the Scoutwalker 11 series of robots and other 4 bicore walkers in its classed had one.

              I played around with these linkages when I dabbled with the multi master bicores. I used one bicore as a sort of heartbeat to sort've synchronise others in my salamander robot. It's like a clock pulse i suppose.

              In other news, I've finished building part of the velocity regulating network for my new bot. It's just a set of hc14 bicores which govern the motor speeds. I need to find some cheap, tiny potentiometers to finish that circuit. Next up will be some testing and then the motor driver and IMX board.

              --- In beam@yahoogroups.com, "connor_ramsey@..." <connor_ramsey@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In beam@yahoogroups.com, Richard Piotter <richfiles1@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I built the old "BORIS" muscle wire kit years ago. The one thing I
              > > learned, is it's power hungry stuff. I always hoped they'd come up
              > > with an affordable shape memory... polymer??? more efficient alloy???
              >
              > Well there are still electroactive polymers. They're much faster, stronger, more efficient, and I suspect that they only draw as much current as is needed to operate a load.
              >
              > Completely off topic, does anyone know what happens when you couple two suspended bicores together rather than a master/slave setup? I'm very curious to know, and I'm about to find out myself, but I'd rather take it from one of you guys first.
              >
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