Researchers Cook Up Better Prosthetics, Fish Robots
October 19, 2010 10:48 AM
The lamprey nervous system was used for the computational model
(Source: Avis Cohen and Eric D. Tytell, University of Maryland)
Studying the muscles of a fish as they swim through the water can help with better prosthetic designs
University of Maryland
researchers have created a
of a swimming fish
in an effort to develop medical prosthetic limbs for humans that work more smoothly with the body's natural movements, similar to the way the muscles of a fish interact with water to produce locomotion.
The study was led by University of Maryland researchers Eric D. Tytell and Avis Cohen along with Tulane University researchers Chia-yu Hsu and Lisa Fauci. Together, they simulated how the body of a fish "bends" with the water around it in order to understand how
affect locomotion. With this information, researchers hope to design medical prosthetics and robots that move fluidly with their environment.
"When a fish moves in a fluid, muscles contract, but the fluid also moves against the body," said Tytell, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland. "So, the amount the body moves depends on the internal muscle force and the external reaction of fluids.
"Previous studies examined body mechanics separately from fluid mechanics because it is a very hard problem to solve. This is the first time that anyone has put together a computational framework to simulate this for large, fast
animals like fishes
In this particular study, the lamprey, which is a primitive vertebrate, is being used for the simulation. The nervous system of this creature will help to design prosthetics for patients with spinal cord injuries.
Simulations were performed with various values for different body and fluid properties. During these simulations, Tytell and Hsu found that body stiffness was an important property when determining the lamprey's ability to swim.
"Take a lamprey and a barracuda as examples," said Tytell. "If you hold a freshly dead lamprey, it just drops, because it is a very floppy fish. But if you take a fish like a barracuda, their bodies are stiffer and don't flop much. We wanted to know what difference does the floppy vs. stiff body make? If their muscles produced the same amount of force, then the floppy body, since it bends more, should accelerate more rapidly, but also expend more energy. And the stiff body should accelerate more slowly because it bends less, but once it gets going, it should use less energy."
Tytell adds that this isn't really the way it is, though. According to the study, barracudas, for the most part, accelerate more quickly than lampreys because barracuda's have stronger muscles and higher body stiffness.
While the goal of this study is to eventually develop more fluid prosthetics and robotics, researchers also want to use this information to understand the evolution and biodiversity of fishes. According to Tytell, evolutionary biologists are looking to better understand the "selective pressures" that resulted in
species having specific characteristics
. Locomotion, in particular, is important because understanding how they move will help researchers understand how they find mates, escape predators and locate food.
Researchers also want to use the computational model to figure out why fishes are shaped differently, and how they swim so smoothly through restless waters.
"The first line of defense against external perturbations such as eddies in the water for fishes, or tripping on a rock for humans, isn't the nervous system, but rather the body's mechanics, kind of like shocks on a car," said Tytell. "If we can translate the mechanical stability that living organisms exhibit into the design of robots or
, we could really advance the technology."
"The devices may one day help people regain control over their legs and
," said Cohen, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Maryland. "We understand to first order the neural circuit that controls the muscles for swimming or walking. Now, for neuroprosthetics, we need to understand how the muscles interact with the body and the environment -- our model helps us do that."
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
Species Accumulate More Slowly Today Than in the Past
September 30, 2010, 12:37 PM
More of the Gulf is Reopened for Fishing as Oil Spill Disperses
September 1, 2010, 10:40 PM
Human Testing to Begin on Mind-controlled Prosthetic
August 9, 2010, 6:45 AM
New Foot Replacement Better Mimics Real Ankle Function
February 17, 2010, 9:11 AM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
What Can You Do with Your New Echo Dot?
December 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Google has developed Deep Learning Algorithm to detect Diabetic Eye Disease
December 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Latest News, this is how the Moto X (2017) might look
December 3, 2016, 9:02 AM
Foscam R2 Home Security Camera System – High Quality High FHD Security Video Footage with No Monthly Fees
December 1, 2016, 2:00 AM
Sound Blaster Z SBX PCIE Gaming Sound Card - Superb High Performance Sound Card
December 6, 2016, 1:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Dec 9, 2016, 5:00 AM
Latest Tech News
Dec 8, 2016, 5:11 AM
In The News
Dec 7, 2016, 5:00 AM
e Guide: Mobile Security for 2017
Dec 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Apple Car is Not Dead
Dec 5, 2016, 1:00 AM
Dec 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 2, 2016, 5:00 AM
Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Dec 1, 2016, 3:01 AM
Chapeconense plane crash: Football rallies around Brazilian Team
Nov 30, 2016, 1:00 AM
How to Extends Your iPhone’s Battery Life
Nov 29, 2016, 12:49 AM
Nov 28, 2016, 1:12 AM
News: Fidel Castro
Nov 27, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nov 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
Changes in Social status affect the way genes turn on and off within immune cells.
Nov 25, 2016, 5:12 AM
Austrian far–right hopeful Hofer may back EU vote.
Nov 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Final Fantasy XV Leaked Before Nov 29 Launch Date
Nov 23, 2016, 1:00 AM
Nov 22, 2016, 2:26 AM
Nov 21, 2016, 1:00 AM
HTC Makes Big Moves in China
Nov 20, 2016, 2:00 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information