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Fish Robotics: Inspiration from Fishes for the Design Mechanical Devices

Release time:March 18, 2019

Topic: Fish Robotics: Inspiration from Fishes for the Design Mechanical Devices

Speaker: Prof. George V. Lauder, Harvard University

Time: 10:00 am, May 9

Venue: 2nd Lecture Hall, New Main Building

Abstract:

There are over 35,000 species of fishes, and a key feature of this remarkable evolutionary diversity is the variety of propulsive systems used by fishes for swimming in the aquatic environment. Fishes have numerous control surfaces which act to transfer momentum to the surrounding fluid. In this presentation, I will discuss the results of recent experimental kinematic and hydrodynamic studies of fish locomotor function, and the implications for construction of robotic models of fishes. Recent high-resolution vedio analyses of fish fin movements during locomotion show that fins undergo much greater deformations than previously suspected and fish fins possess a clever active surface control mechanism. Fish body and fin motion results in the formation of vortex rings of various conformations, and quantification of vortex rings shed into the wake by freely-swimming fishes has proven to be useful for understanding the mechanisms of propulsion. Experimental analyses of propulsion in freely-swimming fishes have led to the development of a variety of self-propelling robotic models ranging from simple plastic panels to more complex tuna-inspired robotic systems. Data from these devices will be presented and discussed in terms of the utility of using robotic models for understanding fish locomotor dynamics, and for studying the function of specialized fish surface structures like shark skin.

Biography of the Speaker:

George V. Lauder is the Henry Bryant Bigelow Professor at Harvard University, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Physical Society (APS). Prof. Lauder is the leading scientist in the field of aquatic biomechanics and biorobotics. He received the A.B. and Ph.D degrees in biology from Harvard University in 1976 and 1979 respectively. From 1979 to 1981 he was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard. Since 1999 he has been Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. His research interests focus on the biomechanics and evolution of fishes, with a special focus on laboratory analyses of kinematics, muscle function, and hydrodynamics of freely-swimming fishes. Currently work involves application of analyses of fish locomotor function to the design of fish-like robotic bio-robotic test platforms. He also serves as associate editors for many prestigious journals, including the Journal of Experimental Biology, Soft Robotics, ect.


School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation