Our group studies the dynamics of latch-mediated spring actuated systems in biology and engineering. We take bioinspiration from latch-spring systems in biology such as the mantis shrimp, which can outperform current engineering design in terms of repeatable, ultrafast movements. Our collaborators, Prof. Sarah Bergbreiter’s Microrobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon, have recently designed a robotic latch-spring jumper. One significant challenge in the design process of a latch-spring jumper emerges in the integration of the system components (motors, springs, latches, and linkages). We are just beginning to understand the trade-offs between individual component performance and the overall jump performance of the robot.
This past summer, Tanvi Krishnan ('24) measured the jump performance as a function of varying the system components (motors, springs, latches). She found that certain combinations of components led to different outcomes: the robot could jump normally, perform a stutter-jump, or completely stall. This fall, we need help with collecting a more complete dataset and analyzing the results. Future directions of the project include completing a "phase diagram" of the jump behaviors and investigating trade-offs with battery performance.
Essay prompt: No essay required. You can leave the essay portion blank.
You will be part of a team of 6-8 HMC students working on a set of related projects at the intersection between physics, materials science, biology, and robotics. You will collaborate with other research groups in these disciplines across the country and you will get the opportunity to regularly present your work to a larger team. Collectively, we are working on understanding these ultra-fast elastic systems, which will have impact in the fields of evolutionary biology and micro-robotic design.