Robotics Events Calendar

Event Information

Lockheed Martin Robotics Seminar: Dr. James Tangorra, " Biorobotic Fins"
Friday, November 30, 2018
2:00 p.m.
2216 JM Patterson
For More Information:
Ania Picard
301 405 4358

Lockheed Martin Robotics Seminar

Sensory Mediated Propulsion and Touch in Biorobotic Fins

James Tangorra
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Drexel University

Our studies of fish swimming have revealed that fish use their fins as propulsors and as sensors to swim and navigate by interacting with the fluid and actively contacting the environment. This functionality implies that the mechanics and the sensory and control systems of fins are not designed solely for propulsion, but evolved to satisfy a richer range of objectives.  Based on neuromechanical and behavioral studies of the sunfish, we have developed biorobotic models of the pectoral and median fins that produce the propulsive forces and gaits for steady swimming, hovers, and turns, and which are instrumented with distributed sensors to estimate fin forces and to couple closed-loop pattern generators to the fin’s dynamic interaction with the fluid. These models have been used to investigate sensory-mediated control of fins during swimming and touch and to learn how to exploit biological principles for high performance robotic systems. In this talk, I  will present our understanding of closed-loop control and swimming across the continuum from steady swimming, to maneuver, to unsteady touch and will propose a sensing and control framework for implementation in robotic fins. 


Mumu Xu and Bill Regli

James Tangorra is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Drexel University and is the Director of Drexel’s Peace Engineering program. His research focuses on the integration of sensing, control and mechanics in animal movement, and on the application of technology to reduce the drivers of conflict. Drexel’s Peace Engineering program trains engineers to work proficiently at the intersection of conflict management and peacebuilding. The program is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Peace-Tech Lab and Drexel’s College of Engineering that aims to transform peacebuilding by integrating engineering approaches with the studies and practices of peacebuilders.



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