Bioinspiration and Biomimetics


Unique modes of locomotion

Analysis of a unique mode of locomotion: Vertical climbing by Pacific lamprey

12At ICER, scientists worked with engineers from the University of California – San Diego, and the US Government to numerically analyse for the first time a unique mode of locomotion in a climbing fish, the Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata). The fish are capable of climbing vertical wetted surfaces through a two-phase (bending and stretching) locomotion mode using the oral disk for adherence. Two mechanisms, one akin to the jumping process and the other related to the fast stretching of the body, have been identified. A geneti c algorithm simulation was used to identify the combination of kinematic parameters corresponding to optimal efficiency and the results suggested that this type of locomotion has been optimized for maximum efficiency through evolution. This locomotion mode, with its simplicity and high efficiency, may inspire biomimetic designs of fishlike swimming devices capable of overcoming steep obstacles. A direct application is toward the development of anguilliform swimming and climbing machines and may provide the basis for a paradigm shift away from those employed in earlier robots.



Dr Qiang Zhu (University of California – San Diego)
Dr Paul Kemp
Dr Mary Moser (NOAA)

Autonomous underwater vehicles

Developing autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology through Bioinspiration

32Engineers from the Ship Science/Fluid Structure Interactions group within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University of Southampton, including the NOC and Marine Technology group at Newcastle University are developing autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology through bioinspiration (UK EPSRC NEMO). In particular, understanding and translating into practical engineering solutions the ability of marine life to reduce their cost of transport by taking advantage of the energy that exists in their environment. The research is focussed in two areas underpinned by a database of information mapping marine life “performance” to existent AUV performance: (i) deep-diving and (ii) speed and agility. Understanding the biology and physiology of certain marine life mapped to the AUV database and subtleties in their exploitation of turbulent features in their environment can lead to improved designs with the balance of installed power moving to mission critical equipment rather than supporting propulsion.



Professor Gwyn Griffiths
Dr James Blake
Dr Stephen Boyd
Dr Alex Phillips
Dr Alan Murphy (Newcastle University)