Micro-robot fish with SMA Biomimetic Fin

Wang and collaborators wrote an article on the design of cuddle fish like biomimetic fin using shape memory alloy wires.  A link to the abstract for this article is given here:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924424708001283.  The design of a biomimetic fishtail has utilization in the underwater vehicles, since fishtails create a greater propulsive efficiency.  Also, there may be uses in the areas of microsurgery or underwater exploration that requires a narrow vehicle.  The inspiration comes from the cuddlefish fin which works through a combination of jet propulsion at high speed and fin undulatory/oscillation at low speed.  The fin of the cuddlefish consists of a 3 layered-structure.

Microsoft Word - 230.doc     Microsoft Word - 230.doc


The structure on the left is of the cuddlefish fin and on the right is of the biomimetic fin.  The biomimetic fin is made of an elastic substrate (plastic and/or rubber silicone) with skin containing embedded shape memory alloy wires attached to it.  The SMA wires acts as transverse muscle fibers by providing a lateral compressive force.  While, the elastic substrate stores elastic energy.

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The biomimetic fin is incorporated into the micro-robot fish as seen in the picture above in the assembled and unassembled forms.  The motion of the fish is controlled by batteries and a control circuit.  The resulting fish structure can swim forward and turn.


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