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      A biomimetic robotic platform to study flight specializations of bats

      , ,
      Science Robotics
      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Motor patterns in human walking and running.

          Despite distinct differences between walking and running, the two types of human locomotion are likely to be controlled by shared pattern-generating networks. However, the differences between their kinematics and kinetics imply that corresponding muscle activations may also be quite different. We examined the differences between walking and running by recording kinematics and electromyographic (EMG) activity in 32 ipsilateral limb and trunk muscles during human locomotion, and compared the effects of speed (3-12 km/h) and gait. We found that the timing of muscle activation was accounted for by five basic temporal activation components during running as we previously found for walking. Each component was loaded on similar sets of leg muscles in both gaits but generally on different sets of upper trunk and shoulder muscles. The major difference between walking and running was that one temporal component, occurring during stance, was shifted to an earlier phase in the step cycle during running. These muscle activation differences between gaits did not simply depend on locomotion speed as shown by recordings during each gait over the same range of speeds (5-9 km/h). The results are consistent with an organization of locomotion motor programs having two parts, one that organizes muscle activation during swing and another during stance and the transition to swing. The timing shift between walking and running reflects therefore the difference in the relative duration of the stance phase in the two gaits.
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            Controlled flight of a biologically inspired, insect-scale robot.

            Flies are among the most agile flying creatures on Earth. To mimic this aerial prowess in a similarly sized robot requires tiny, high-efficiency mechanical components that pose miniaturization challenges governed by force-scaling laws, suggesting unconventional solutions for propulsion, actuation, and manufacturing. To this end, we developed high-power-density piezoelectric flight muscles and a manufacturing methodology capable of rapidly prototyping articulated, flexure-based sub-millimeter mechanisms. We built an 80-milligram, insect-scale, flapping-wing robot modeled loosely on the morphology of flies. Using a modular approach to flight control that relies on limited information about the robot's dynamics, we demonstrated tethered but unconstrained stable hovering and basic controlled flight maneuvers. The result validates a sufficient suite of innovations for achieving artificial, insect-like flight.
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              Nonlinear time series analysis of normal and pathological human walking.

              Characterizing locomotor dynamics is essential for understanding the neuromuscular control of locomotion. In particular, quantifying dynamic stability during walking is important for assessing people who have a greater risk of falling. However, traditional biomechanical methods of defining stability have not quantified the resistance of the neuromuscular system to perturbations, suggesting that more precise definitions are required. For the present study, average maximum finite-time Lyapunov exponents were estimated to quantify the local dynamic stability of human walking kinematics. Local scaling exponents, defined as the local slopes of the correlation sum curves, were also calculated to quantify the local scaling structure of each embedded time series. Comparisons were made between overground and motorized treadmill walking in young healthy subjects and between diabetic neuropathic (NP) patients and healthy controls (CO) during overground walking. A modification of the method of surrogate data was developed to examine the stochastic nature of the fluctuations overlying the nominally periodic patterns in these data sets. Results demonstrated that having subjects walk on a motorized treadmill artificially stabilized their natural locomotor kinematics by small but statistically significant amounts. Furthermore, a paradox previously present in the biomechanical literature that resulted from mistakenly equating variability with dynamic stability was resolved. By slowing their self-selected walking speeds, NP patients adopted more locally stable gait patterns, even though they simultaneously exhibited greater kinematic variability than CO subjects. Additionally, the loss of peripheral sensation in NP patients was associated with statistically significant differences in the local scaling structure of their walking kinematics at those length scales where it was anticipated that sensory feedback would play the greatest role. Lastly, stride-to-stride fluctuations in the walking patterns of all three subject groups were clearly distinguishable from linearly autocorrelated Gaussian noise. As a collateral benefit of the methodological approach taken in this study, some of the first steps at characterizing the underlying structure of human locomotor dynamics have been taken. Implications for understanding the neuromuscular control of locomotion are discussed. (c) 2000 American Institute of Physics.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science Robotics
                Sci. Robot.
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                2470-9476
                February 01 2017
                February 01 2017
                : 2
                : 3
                : eaal2505
                Article
                10.1126/scirobotics.aal2505
                937fab18-9b05-4e20-b9be-ef64c86f4675
                © 2017

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