Gait-optimized locomotion of wave-driven soft sheets
Author(s)Miller, Pearson Whitehead; Dunkel, Joern
MetadataShow full item record
Inspired by the robust locomotion of limbless animals in a range of environments, the development of soft robots capable of moving by localized swelling, bending, and other forms of differential growth has become a target for soft matter research over the last decade. Engineered soft robots exhibit a wide range of morphologies, but theoretical investigations of soft robot locomotion have largely been limited to slender bodied or one-dimensional examples. Here, we demonstrate design principles regarding the locomotion of two-dimensional soft materials driven by morphoelastic waves along a dry substrate. Focusing on the essential common aspects of many natural and man-made soft actuators, a continuum model is developed which links the deformation of a thin elastic sheet to surface-bound excitation waves. Through a combination of analytic and numerical methods, we investigate the relationship between induced active stress and self-propulsion performance of self-propelling sheets driven by FitzHugh-Nagumo type chemical waves. Examining the role of both sheet geometry and terrain geography on locomotion, our results can provide guidance for the design of more efficient soft crawling devices.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mathematics
Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
Miller, Pearson W. and Jorn Dunkel. "Gait-optimized locomotion of wave-driven soft sheets." Soft Matter, 2020,16, 3991-3999 © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2020.
Final published version