Feel The Rhythm, Robots - Especially You Biomimics
An interesting paper published a month ago describes an unexamined source of power and efficiency for robots and robotic systems.
This article addresses two questions, why certain animals (frogs, breaststroke swimmers, hovering fliers, jellyfish) push rapidly against the surrounding fluid and then reach forward slowly, and whether this rhythm of propulsion is a manifestation of the universal phenomenon of design evolution in nature. Emphasis is on the distribution of time periods of locomotion in which, during the driving phase of cyclic movement (the motive stroke, phases 1 and 2, in alternating sequence with the dissipative stroke, phase 3), the work is generated (phase 1) and dissipated (phase 2). The relative lengths of the characteristic times t1 and t2 of the phases 1 and 2, are predicted. The relative duration of the proposed three phases of a cycle is the ‘rhythm’...
Emphasis is placed on the freedom to change the evolving design. Freedom is represented in two ways: the number of degrees of freedom in changing the dimensions of the model and its deformation in time, and the effect that evolutionary changes have on the access that the body has to its available space. Freedom to change the locomotion design leads to greater power and speed.
We showed that when the rhythm is free to change, the moving body evolves toward economy of power and greater speed. The theory started with the idea that the rhythm is the unknown—it is not to be assumed as given. This point of view empowers us to fast-forward design ideas (images) and their evolution in the mind. In all of nature, flows are not happening in ‘given’ spaces and within rigid boundaries, or "boundary conditions". The flows carve and define their own spaces, configurations, and rhythms in time.
Configurations evolve because they have freedom to change. Every change in configuration (form, rhythm) opens the door to changes in the performance of the flow system. Every additional degree of freedom in the optimization of the movement is a step toward seeking economy of power and greater speed.