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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2013

Victor V. Klemas

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint a wide audience of readers with some of the unique remote sensing and navigation capabilities of animals.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint a wide audience of readers with some of the unique remote sensing and navigation capabilities of animals.

Design/methodology/approach

Biomimetic comparison of remote sensors evolved by animals and sensors designed by man. The study and comparison includes thermal infrared sensors used by snakes, echolocation used by bats and dolphins, and navigation methods used by birds. Countermeasures used by prey to avoid capture are also considered.

Findings

Some animals have remote sensing and navigation capabilities that are considerably more efficient than those provided by the human body or designed by man.

Practical implications

Sensor designers may be encouraged to use the biometic approach in the design of new sensors.

Social implications

The paper provides a better understanding of animal behaviour, especially their unique abilities to remotely sense, echolocate and navigate with high accuracy over considerable distances.

Originality/value

The paper presents a comparison of remote sensors used by animals with those developed by humans. Remote sensor designers can learn to improve their sensor designs by studying animal sensors within a biomimetic framework.

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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2014

Thilo Kahl, Herbert Bousack, Erik S. Schneider and Helmut Schmitz

Early detection of forest fires offers the chance to put the fire out before it gets out of control. The purpose of this paper is to look into nature and to learn how…

Abstract

Purpose

Early detection of forest fires offers the chance to put the fire out before it gets out of control. The purpose of this paper is to look into nature and to learn how certain insects detect remote forest fires. A small group of highly specialized insects that have been called pyrophilous is attracted by forest fires and approaches fires sometimes from distances of many kilometers. As a unique feature some of these insects are equipped with infrared (IR) receptors, which in case of two species of jewel beetles (family Buprestidae) are used for fire detection.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper has investigated the IR receptors of the pyrophilous beetles with various morphological techniques including scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, neuroanatomy and the paper also investigated the thermo-/mechanical properties of the IR receptors by nanoindentation. Data were used for subsequent modeling of a biomimetic technical sensor. Finally, a macroscopic prototype was built and tested.

Findings

This biological principle was transferred into a new kind of uncooled technical IR receptor. A simple model for this biological IR sensor is a modified Golay sensor in which the gas has been replaced by a liquid. Here, the absorbed IR radiation results in a pressure increase of the liquid and the deflection of a thin membrane. For the evaluation of this model, analytical formulas are presented, which permits the calculation of the pressure increase in the cavity, the deformation of the membrane and the time constant of an artificial leak to compensate ambient temperature changes. Some organic liquids with high thermal expansion coefficients may improve the deflection of the membrane compared to water.

Originality/value

Results so far obtained suggest that it seems promising to take the photomechanic IR receptors of pyrophilous jewel beetles as models for the building of new uncooled IR sensors. The beetle receptors have been shaped by evolution since thousands of years and, therefore, can be considered as highly optimized sources of inspiration for new technical sensors suitable for remote fire detection.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2008

Torben Lenau, Hyunmin Cheong and Li Shu

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how biomimetics can be applied in sensor design. Biomimetics is an engineering discipline that uses nature as an inspiration…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how biomimetics can be applied in sensor design. Biomimetics is an engineering discipline that uses nature as an inspiration source for generating ideas for how to solve engineering problems. The paper reviews a number of biomimetic studies of sense organs in animals and illustrates how a formal search method developed at University of Toronto can be applied to sensor design.

Design/methodology/approach

Using biomimetics involves a search for relevant cases, a proper analysis of the biological solutions, identification of design principles and design of the desired artefact. The present search method is based on formulation of relevant keywords and search for occurrences in a standard university biology textbook. Most often a simple formulation of keywords and a following search is not enough to generate a sufficient amount of useful ideas or the search gives too many results. This is handled by a more advanced search strategy where the search is either widened or it is focused further mainly using biological synonyms.

Findings

A major problem in biomimetic design is finding the relevant analogies to actual design tasks in nature.

Research limitations/implications

Biomimetics can be a challenge to engineers due to the terminology from another scientific discipline.

Practical implications

Using a formalised search method is a way of solving the problem of finding the relevant biological analogies.

Originality/value

The paper is of value as most present biomimetic research is focused on the understanding of biological phenomena and does not have as much focus on the engineering design challenges.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 13 May 2014

Robert Bogue

– This paper aims to provide details of recent snake robot research, products and applications.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide details of recent snake robot research, products and applications.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a short introduction to snake robots, this paper considers a selection of key research activities and then describes a number of commercial products. Examples of applications are then provided and are followed by brief conclusions.

Findings

In contrast to many other classes of robots, snake robots are being studied by only a relatively small number of academic groups. Despite their unique abilities, commercialisation has so far been very limited. Real and potential applications exist in fields that include the nuclear power sector, security and defence, aerospace, oil and gas, civil engineering and urban search and rescue.

Originality/value

This paper reviews the preset-day status of snake robot research and provides details of commercial products and their applications.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 April 2013

Marc Neumann, Thomas Predki, Leif Heckes and Patrick Labenda

After a building collapse, people buried alive have to be localized and rescued. This requires the damage site's inspection and surveillance. These tasks are dangerous and…

Abstract

Purpose

After a building collapse, people buried alive have to be localized and rescued. This requires the damage site's inspection and surveillance. These tasks are dangerous and challenging due to the area's hard‐to‐reach and hazardous environment. The damage site cannot be actively entered but must be inspected from a safe distance. In this context, mobile robots gain in importance as they can be operated semi‐autonomously or remote‐controlled without exposing the first responders to the risk. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a novel robot.

Design/methodology/approach

The novel robot introduced in this paper has a snake‐like build‐up, uses tracks and active flippers for locomotion and negotiates completely structured as well as extremely unstructured and rough terrain. The system's slender, segmented and modular structure is actively articulated by the use of overall 30 degrees‐of‐freedom, which allow the robot's flexible adaptation to a given terrain. System‐terrain‐interaction is detected by the use of an innovative, RFID‐based sensory integrated in the system's tracks.

Findings

The paper presents the mobile robot's basic features, as well as first experimental results for semi‐autonomy and tele‐operation.

Originality/value

The introduced robot stands out due to its high locomotion and mobility capabilities.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 40 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2016

B.B.V.L. Deepak, M.V.A. Raju Bahubalendruni and B.B. Biswal

The purpose of this paper is to describe the reviews of past research work on various in-pipe robotic systems and their operations. This investigation has been focussed on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the reviews of past research work on various in-pipe robotic systems and their operations. This investigation has been focussed on the implemented methodologies for performing in-pipe cleaning and inspection tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

This work has been concentrated on review of various sensors used in robots to perform in-pipes inspection operation for determining flaws/cracks, corrosion-affected areas, blocks and coated paint thickness. Various actuators like DC motors, servo motors, pneumatic operated and hydraulic operated are discussed in this review analysis to control the motion of various mechanical components of the robot.

Findings

In the current analysis, categorisation of various pipe cleaning robots according to their mechanical structure has been addressed. A lot of information has been gathered regarding the control of in-pipe robots for performing inspection and cleaning tasks.

Originality/value

In this paper, various in-pipe cleaning and inspection techniques have been studied. Necessary information provided regarding different types of in-pipe robots like PIG, wall-pressed, walking, wheel and inchworm. This investigation provides a through literature on various types of sensors like ultrasonic, magnetic, touch, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, X-ray, etc., that have been used for inspection and detection of flaws in the pipe.

Details

International Journal of Intelligent Unmanned Systems, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-6427

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide an insight into recent biomimetic sensor developments.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an insight into recent biomimetic sensor developments.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a brief introduction, this paper considers a number of specific sensor R&D activities which involve the use of differing biomimetic concepts, including the fabrication of artificial sensing organs, emulating human senses, novel uses of biological structures and systems exploiting biologically‐inspired behaviour.

Findings

This paper shows that a range of different biomimetic design concepts are being applied to sensors that respond to a range of physical, gaseous and chemical variables. Robust, multi‐sensor systems are being developed which emulate biologically‐inspired behaviour.

Originality/value

This paper provides an up to date technical review of a range of differing biomimetic sensor designs and concepts.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2007

Zhelong Wang and Hong Gu

This study aims to investigate locomotion mechanisms of different urban search and rescue (USAR) robots currently being researched or commercially available on the market.

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1278

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate locomotion mechanisms of different urban search and rescue (USAR) robots currently being researched or commercially available on the market.

Design/methodology/approach

USAR robots are categorized by the type of their mobility. Detailed illustration and analysis have been given for each USAR robot in the paper.

Findings

The paper finds that none of current USAR robots can practically and autonomously carry out rescue work in a complex and unstructured environment. Hence, responding to the practical requirements of highly challenging USAR tasks, a team of USAR robots based on different locomotion mechanisms may be a good solution to undertake rescue activities.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides guidance in the design of future USAR robots.

Originality/value

The paper investigates locomotion mechanisms of different USAR robots in detail.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Grzegorz Granosik, Malik G. Hansen and Johann Borenstein

Describes the design, construction, and performance of the OmniTread serpentine robot. Provides a review of other designs in this new area of mobile robotics. Presents…

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1223

Abstract

Purpose

Describes the design, construction, and performance of the OmniTread serpentine robot. Provides a review of other designs in this new area of mobile robotics. Presents innovative and unique mechanical and control solutions.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical analysis of key aspects of the mechanical design and their implications on the performance of the robot is presented. Extensive experimentation and testing helped optimize choices of materials for the critical components: tracks and pneumatic bellows. Performance was evaluated by an independent third party: the Southwest Research Institute.

Findings

It was found that pneumatic bellows are optimal joint actuators for serpentine robots. They can provide both strength and compliance, depending on the task, at minimal volume and weight.

Research limitations/implications

The described prototype is tethered to external sources of electrical and pneumatic power. A smaller and fully self‐contained version of the OmniTread is currently under development.

Practical implications

A fully functional OmniTread serpentine robot will provide unprecedented mobility on rough terrain, such as the rubble of a collapsed building. The ability to climb over high obstacles and span large gaps, while still fitting through small openings suggests use of this robot in urban search and rescue, industrial inspection, and military reconnaissance tasks.

Originality/value

The OmniTread serpentine robot incorporates multiple original features, which resulted in three recent patents. Most notably are the Integrated pneumatic joint actuator with proportional position and stiffness control system and the “Tracks all Around” design. These features provide dramatic performance improvements in serpentine robots.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Robert Bogue

This paper seeks to describe and discuss the historical development of IR sensors used in thermal imaging and to identify and consider some recent research trends.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to describe and discuss the historical development of IR sensors used in thermal imaging and to identify and consider some recent research trends.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper first considers cooled semiconductor photon detectors and their limitations and then traces the historical development of un‐cooled IR sensing technologies and their commercialisation. It then discusses certain present‐day developments and research trends.

Findings

This paper shows that military‐funded research by the USA in the 1980s led to families of un‐cooled IR sensors, pyroelectric detectors and microbolometers, that have since been widely commercialised. Research continues in the search for a technology that can yield un‐cooled sensors offering the sensitivity of cooled devices, such as Golay cells, microcantilever arrays and biomimetics.

Originality/value

This paper traces the technological evolution of un‐cooled thermal imaging sensors and identifies and considers recent research.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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