Bio-inspired robotic guiding towards better engineering for better future

Bio-inspired robotic locomotion is quite new sub-group of bio-inspired design. It is about taking knowledge from nature and applying it to real world engineering systems. More specially, this field is about making robots which are inspired by biological systems. Biomimicry and bio-inspired plan every now and then get mixed up. Biomimicry is copying nature as bio-inspired design is learning from nature and making the mechanism which is simpler and more effectual than system observed in nature. Biomimicry has guided to the development of the diverse branch of robotics known as soft robotics. Biological systems have been optimized for detailed tasks according to their environment. Though, they are multi-functional and are not developed for only one particular functionality. Bio-inspired robotics is concerning learning biological systems, and look for mechanisms which may solve the problem in engineering field. Designer must then attempt to make simpler and improve that mechanism for specific task of interest. Bio-inspired roboticists are typically interested in biosensors (like eye), bioactuators (like muscle), or biomaterials (like spider silk). Most of robots have some kind of locomotion system. Therefore, in this article various forms of animal locomotion and some examples of corresponding bio-inspired robots are introduced.

In 3D, healthy hearts perform their own version of twist. Somewhat a simple pumping action, they flow blood as if they were wringing the towel. Bottom of heart twists as it contracts in the counterclockwise direction as the top twists clockwise. Scientists call this left ventricular twist—and it can be utilized as the indicator of heart health.

The heart is not alone. Human body is completed with suitable examples of soft muscular systems which bend, twist, expand, and flex in complex ways. Engineers have long sought to create robotic systems with requisite actuation systems which can carry out comparable tasks, but these have fallen short.

Now the team of researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has created the low-cost, programmable soft actuated material which gives renewed hope to mission. They showed its the material's potential by using it to duplicate biological motion of heart, and also created the matching 3D computer model of it, as reported in Advanced Materials.

Most models of heart used today do not imitate its 3D motion, said lead author Ellen Roche, an M.D./Ph.D. applicant at SEAS who is also affiliated with Wyss Institute. "They only take flow into account." What is missing is essential twisting motion which the heart uses to drive blood efficiently.

We drew the motivation for soft actuated material from stylish design of heart, said Wyss Core Faculty member Conor Walsh, Ph.D., senior author, who is also the Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at SEAS and originator of Harvard Biodesign Lab. "This approach could motivate better surgical training equipments and implantable heart devices, and opens new possibilities in emerging field of soft robotics for devices which help other organs as well." The heart travels the mode it does as its bundles of striated muscle fibers, that are oriented spirally in same direction and work together to achieve motion.

The modular robots are characteristically are able to perform various tasks and are especially useful for search and rescue or exploratory missions. Few of the featured robots in this group comprise the salamander stimulated robot created at EPFL which can walk and swim, a robot motivated by a snake created at Carnegie Melon which has four different types of terrestrial locomotion, and cockroach motivated robot can run and climb on the variety of complex terrain.


Humanoid robots are robots which look like human or are motivated by human. There are several different kinds of humanoid robots for applications like personal help, reception, work at industries, or companionship. These kinds of robots are utilized for research purposes and were initially created to create better orthosis and prosthesis for human beings. Petman is one of first and most advanced humanoid robots created at Boston Dynamics. A number of humanoid robots like Honda Asimo are over actuated.

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