The invertebrates ability to adapt to the environment during motion represents an intriguing feature to inspire robotic systems. We analysed the sipunculid species Phascolosoma stephensoni (Sipunculidae, Annelida), and quantitatively studied the motion behaviour of this unsegmented worm. The hydrostatic skeleton and the muscle activity make the infaunal P. stephensoni able to extrude part of its body (the introvert) from its burrow to explore the environment by remaining hidden within the rocky substrate where it settled. The introvert protrusion is associated with changes in the body shape while keeping the overall volume constant. In this study, we employed a marker-less optical tracking strategy to quantitatively study introvert protrusion (i.e. kinematics, elongation percentage and forces exerted) in different navigation media. When P. stephensoni specimens were free in sea water (outside from the burrow), the worms reached lengths up to three times their initial ones after protrusion.Moreover, they were able to elongate their introvert inside a viscous medium such as agar-based hydrogel. In this case, the organisms were able to break the hydrogel material, exerting forces up to 3 N and then to navigate easily inside it, producing stresses of some tens of kPa. Our measurements can be used as guidelines and specifications to design and develop novel smart robotic systems.

Protrusion mechanism study in sipunculid worms as model for developing bio-inspired linear actuators

Luigi Musco;
2021

Abstract

The invertebrates ability to adapt to the environment during motion represents an intriguing feature to inspire robotic systems. We analysed the sipunculid species Phascolosoma stephensoni (Sipunculidae, Annelida), and quantitatively studied the motion behaviour of this unsegmented worm. The hydrostatic skeleton and the muscle activity make the infaunal P. stephensoni able to extrude part of its body (the introvert) from its burrow to explore the environment by remaining hidden within the rocky substrate where it settled. The introvert protrusion is associated with changes in the body shape while keeping the overall volume constant. In this study, we employed a marker-less optical tracking strategy to quantitatively study introvert protrusion (i.e. kinematics, elongation percentage and forces exerted) in different navigation media. When P. stephensoni specimens were free in sea water (outside from the burrow), the worms reached lengths up to three times their initial ones after protrusion.Moreover, they were able to elongate their introvert inside a viscous medium such as agar-based hydrogel. In this case, the organisms were able to break the hydrogel material, exerting forces up to 3 N and then to navigate easily inside it, producing stresses of some tens of kPa. Our measurements can be used as guidelines and specifications to design and develop novel smart robotic systems.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/453545
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 1
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact