Welcome to the website for the Biomimetic Locomotion in Fluids research effort. The primary goal of this research is to discover and disseminate new methods for optimal, integrated design of the morphology and gaits of biologically inspired aquatic and atmospheric vehicles. The specific objectives supporting this research goal are to:
  • Identify and develop dynamical system models of appropriate complexity -- those which are general enough to represent a large class of biomimetic vehicle systems but which are amenable to geometric control and averaging methods -- and assess the validity of these models by comparing them with diverse examples from biology.
  • Construct a taxonomy of design optimization problems for biomimetic locomotion in terms of relevant metrics (e.g., maneuverability; robustness; power consumption) and design parameters (e.g., shape, placement, and articulation of appendages; shape, frequency, and amplitude of internal waveforms).
  • Using analytical techniques from geometric control and generalized averaging theory, within a symbolic computational environment, address selected design optimization problems within the given taxonomy. These problems will be selected to support comparisons with data available in the current biology and engineering literature.
  • Within the symbolic computational environment used to address the objectives above, create tools for visualizing the optimization process and points in the high-dimensional design space (i.e., specific vehicle morphologies and gaits). Working within a mature, widely used software environment will increase the accessibility of these tools among the research community and will increase the available options for exporting to web-based environments.
Low-order, control-oriented models support rapid vehicle and gait design, providing suboptimal solutions that may be refined within a slower, more expensive design process that incorporates higher fidelity multi-physics models.