Worm inspires 'comfortable' test

Thomas Hesselberg enpth at bath.ac.uk
Sat Jan 8 00:10:00 EST 2005

Happy New Year to everybody on the list!

Just a few comments on the BIOLOCH (BIOlogical LOComotion in the 
Human body). The project looks to develop a biomimetic endoscope 
based either on  the locomotion of the ragworms (Nereidae) or 
earthworms (or dipteran larvae). The primary biological input so far used 
in the robots is the overall kinematics of the locomotion of these 
organisms. For the ragworm it  is partly data available in publications by 
Taylor, Clark and Gray, but  also more specific kinematic data such as 
stepping angles, step lengths,  parapodial speed relative to body speed 
etc and morphological data such as  relative sizes and specific 
parapodial morphology. However, in the more advanced robots, hopefully 
more things inspired from  the worms will be used. Especially promising 
is the setae due to their  passive method of increasing fiction. Using a 
similar artificial system for  generating friction with the mucus lining the 
gut is one of the possibilities the project is currently investigating.  

Albeit not directly relevant for the BIOLOCH project we also work to 
update  and broaden the findings of Clark and Gray on the locomotion 
and the  functional morphology of Nereis diversicolor using modern 
techniques of  SEM, High speed cameras and digital analysis, and Digital 
particle image  velocimetry.  

More information can be found here:

Best wishes,

--On 30 December 2004 14:27 +0000 Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>

>>   *From BBC news
>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4083557.stm
> Here is a bit more background from the Uni of Bath site:
>  Together with the MiTech Lab of the Scuola Superiore, Sant' Anna
> (Pisa), the Centro "E. Piaggio", Faculty of Engineering, University of
> Pisa (Italy), the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas
> (Greece) and the Section for Minimally Invasive Surgery, University of
> Tübingen (Germany), we are developing BIOmimetic structures for
> LOComotion in the Human body.  The objectives of the study (Funded
> under the EU Framework 5) are to understand the locomotion and
> sensory systems of lower animals such as parasites, worms and insects
> which can burrow and navigate through the substrate (e.g. worms living
> in mud) and to design and make micro-machines which can navigate
> through the human body.  The idea originates from the medical need to
> develop more powerful tools for microendoscopy, one of the most
> challenging frontiers of modern medicine.  We have a prototype
> traction unit based for its design on the ragworm (Nereis) and are
> currently miniaturising it, describing it mathematically and applying
> the model results to understanding the locomotion of the living worm.
> [Julian Vincent, John Williams, Thomas Hesselberg]."
> Of course Prof R. B. Clark and others did nereidid locomotion analyses
> back in the 1970s, and there are papers earlier still.
> --
>    Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>

Thomas Hesselberg
Centre for Biomimetic and Natural Technologies
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom
Tel   +44 (0) 1225384389
E-mail T.Hesselberg at bath.ac.uk

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