Research Projects

Basic Research on a Bio-Inspired Leaping Dolphin Robot
Mar 14, 2014Author:
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The fundamental locomotion principle, control mechanisms and biological inspiration of dolphin leaping are frontier topics to be explored in depth. Inspired by the biological fact that dolphins rely on the coordination of multiple control surfaces and can further extract or release energy from shredded trails at the right time for efficient yet flexible swimming, this proposal aims at the bio-inspired mechanism design and locomotion control of a leaping-oriented, body-caudal-fin-flippers propelled robotic dolphin. The main research contents are listed as follows. First, the speed and maneuverability-related characteristic parameters underlying dolphin leaping will be extracted and their relationships will then be identified. Second, a simplified propulsive model for the body-caudal-fin-flippers coordinated propulsion will be established, and the basic mechanical principles of coordinated propulsion with multiple control surfaces will be illustrated. Third, a novel adjustable Scotch yoke mechanism and multi-DOF accessory fin mechanisms as well as their optimization will be tackled as a whole, followed by the development of a new robotic dolphin prototype. At last, an integrative leaping control method based on the multiple control surfaces coordination will be proposed so as to form a control architecture containing speediness, maneuverability, and operability. Therefore, the bottleneck of leaping motion for robotic dolphin will ultimately be broken and a full leaping will be achieved. The scientific significance of this proposal is to offer a new theoretical basis and technical approach to improve the speed and maneuverability of biomimetic AUVs via biomimetic and robotic technologies applied to exploring leaping mechanism in dolphins.