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Mimicking the thigmotropic behaviour of climbing plants to design a tactile-based grasping device for the space environment

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 18:56
Contract Nr.: 
4000105988
GSP Ident.: 
2012-24
Keywords: 
Biomimikri
Grasping mechnism
Contractor: 
University of Bozen
Subcontractor: 
Nan
Country: 
Italy
Start Date: 
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
End Date: 
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Description: 

Investigating and finding innovative concepts and solutions to understand and mimic the grasping and pulling behaviour of tendril bearing climbing plants.
Methodology:
This work aims at studying the rules and strategies behind the climbing plants that exploit tendrils from a bio-mimetic point of view. Such analysis will tackle these aspects to “read" the natural grasping behaviour also from an engineering point of view. Indeed, a robotic design phase requires a deep comprehension and evaluation of the plants principles. Pea and passiflora plants have been chosen to monitor and study the tendril behaviours: circumnutation, coiling/grasping and free-coiling.
Plant behaviour has been translated into engineering models, rules and ideas. Different materials and techniques have been evaluated both to set-up future effective bio-mimetic mechanisms and to validate the experimental observations.
A robotic approach has been exploited to describe and simulate from a kinematic point of view a bio-inspired robotic tendril.
A practical realization of a modular bio-inspired grasping robotic tendril has been designed together with a proof-of-concept of a section for the modular structure.

Executive summary: