This Little Robot Imitates Mantis Shrimp’s Mighty Punch

The mantis shrimp boasts one of nature’s most powerful and ultrafast punches – it’s the same as rapidly accomplished by .22-caliber ammunition. This makes the creature an attractive object of study for scientists who are excited to learn about related biomechanics. Among other things, this could lead to small robots being able to perform equally strong, powerful movements. Today, a team of researchers at Harvard University has developed a new biomechanical model for mantis shrimp’s strong appendage, and it makes a small robot to mimic that movement, according to a new role published in Methods of the National Academy of Science.

“We are amazed at the many strange behaviors we see in nature, especially when these behaviors meet or exceed what can be obtained by man-made devices,” said the old author Robert Wood, a roboticist at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). For example, the speed and intensity of mantis shrimp strikes is a result of a complex mechanism underneath. By making a robotic model of a mantis shrimp attractive appendage, we studied these mechanisms in unmatched detail. ”

Wood’s research group made headlines many years ago when it was healing. RoboBee, a small robot capable of partially non -untede flight. The ultimate goal of that initiative is to build a host of small interlocking robots capable of sustaining unted flight – a significant technological challenge, given the size of the insect, which changes the different forces at play. In 2019, Wood’s group announced its achievement the lightest robot-sized insect to date to achieve continuous, unted flight — an improved version called the RoboBee X-Wing. (Kenny Breuer, writes in NATURE, it is described as “a tour de force in system design and engineering.”)

Now, Wood’s group has turned its attention to the biomechanics of the knock-out punch on the mantis shrimp. As in we reported in the past, mantis shrimp comes in many varieties; there are about 450 known species. But they are often grouped into two distinct groups: those who stab their victim using spear-like appendages (“spearers”) and those who crush their victim (“smashers”) with large, round, and mal- hammer nails (“raptorial appendages”). Strikes that are so fast (up to 23 meters per second, or 51 mph) and strong, they often make holes in the water hole, creating a shock wave that can serve as a follow-up strike, shocking and sometimes killed the victim. Sometimes a strike can also produce sonoluminescence, where cavitation bubbles produce a brief flash of light upon its collapse.

Agreed to a 2018 study, the secret of the powerful blow that seems to arise not from many muscles but from the full arm anatomical structure of the shrimp’s arms, resembling a bow and arrow or a mousetrap. The shrimp muscles place a saddle-shaped structure on the arm, causing it to bend and store potential energy, which is released by swinging the claw-like claw. This is caused by a latch -like mechanism (technically, in the middle of the spring movement, or LaMSA), with a small structure of muscle tendons called sclerite that acts as a latch.

That is well understood, and there are many other small organisms that are able to move most easily through the same attachment mechanism: for example the feet of frogs and the tongue of the deaf, for example, as well as the mandibles of the trap. jaw trap and exploding plant seeds. Yet biologists who have studied these mechanisms for many years have noticed something unusual in the mantis shrimp — a 1-millisecond delay between when the disconnection occurs and the snap action.

“If you look at the thrilling process with an ultra-high-speed camera, there’s a time delay between when the sclerites are released and the appendage is burned,” he said. said co-first author Nak-seung (Patrick) Hyun, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS. “It’s like a rat moving a mousetrap but instead of it coming out right away, there’s a noticeable delay before it pops up. Apparently there is another mechanism that keeps the appendage in place, but no one understands to examine how the other mechanisms work. ”

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