Biomimicry: Robotic Spider

NMCA Online Course

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Think like a designer and get creative with design in class.

The term biomimicry is derived from the Greek bios, meaning “life” and mimesis, which means “to imitate.”

Biomimicry is a thoughtful approach to examining the technology of nature as a source of inspiration for innovations, especially those that can improve the quality of life for people and the planet. For centuries, innovators have looked at nature for inspiration when developing new products and systems. The genius of scientists and inventors is due in part to their ability to perceive how the technology of nature can be incorporated into human artifacts. Learn more about how nature is the ultimate source of inspiration and influences how we adapt to our environment.

bio 11

In this project, you apply your knowledge of biomimicry and create a virtual model of a mechanical flipper used to assist a spider robot in swimming and walking on muddy terrain.

Inspire others and share your biomimicry design on the Autodesk Digital Steam Workshop.

Project Brief

It’s all about the tools and the process!
“Design thinking” linked to this Biomimicry project starts by formulating and answering some key questions:

• How do the webbed feet on ducks and other waterfowl assist them in swimming in water and walking on land?
• Are there other types of creatures that can efficiently move through water and walk on land?
• How flexible would a webbed flipper need to be?
• How large is the spider robot body?
• What types of environments will the spider robot be used in?
• Will the attachment be permanently mounted?
• How buoyant will the body of the spider robot be?
• What are the optimal materials for the robot body and the flipper attachment?
• How many legs will the robot have?
• How do the legs of the robot move?
• Will the attachment of the flipper entail the use of adhesives or mechanical fasteners?

There are many examples derived from the technology of nature that have inspired human innovations. Examples include the development of lightweight structures for buildings and aircraft based on the honeycomb design of bees’ and wasps’ nests, and the innovation derived from fish such as sharks that led to the development of deep-water submersibles. In this project, you are guided through the process of developing a web-shaped flipper attachment for a spider-type robot. This attachment is intended to aid the robot in swimming and navigating muddy terrain. The biomimicry “mentor” or inspiration for this design is a duck and its webbed feet.

Design considerations used in the example project are as follows:

• Purpose: Development of a robotic leg attachment inspired by the webbed feet of waterfowl.
• Target market: Robotics for hobby, commercial, and military applications.
• Size limitations: Scaled to fit the provided robot.
• Materials: Flexible and waterproof polymers.
• Scheduling requirements: 1–2 hours to complete technical videos.

In this course, you will demonstrate knowledge of the following concepts:

• Seven stages of Design Thinking.
• The importance of sketching in the ideation stage of Design Thinking.
• The value of digital sketching to quickly produce design concepts.
• The basics of 2 point perspective.
• The user interface and essential tools for Autodesk 123D Design.
• The importance of layers in digital sketching.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

Autodesk 123D Design

• Navigate the user interface for Autodesk 123D Design.
• Create the base bike parts using sketch tools and primitives.
• Create 3D models using the construct tools such as extrude.
• Utilize modify tools such as fillet.
• Add context to the bike design using the supplied material finishes.
• Pattern existing 3D models.

Academic Content

• Apply their understanding of design and technology for the design of a balance bike.
• Apply an understanding of mathematic scale to the design of a balance bike.
• Apply an understanding of 3 dimensional measurements.
• Explain the importance of conceptual design in the product development process.