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Pneumatic Robotics

Biomimicry mechanisms inspired by caterpillars' locomotion

Problem: How can we create spatial structures that can deploy fast, be flexible in shape and size, and is lightweight? 

Solution: A bio-mimicry hydraulic design inspired by caterpillars' locomotion mechanisms.

Time Frame: 2 months

Team: 2 designer & partners 

My Role: Designer, Researcher

Client: Hyundai

Context

This is a continued exploration of the Hyundai Adaptive Ecologies project where my partner and I designed and proposed a decentralized city resource system. The urban system is composed of mobile services which transport to areas of demand to support and integrate into local facilities and residential areas. 

The Mission

In this project, we materialize the mobile hubs which house these services.

 
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Design Objectives

Challenges:

Create service hubs that can deploy fast, be flexible in shape and size, and is lightweight, 

 

Focuses:

Compactable

Lightweight
Modular
Social

 

Designs

Inspired by the Flexible Motor Control Bio-Mechanisms Of Caterpillars

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Caterpillar's can maneuver in all directions with minimum support from the rest of the body. They are highly flexible, can contract and expand, are lightweight, and are energy efficient in their movements.

We studied the caterpillar's locomotion mechanism and spatial relations and developed a bio-mimicry design. 

Movements

By separating and reconnecting the internal organ and the external membrane of a structure with muscles, movements can be created.

Contraction & Expansion

Our model of how the caterpillar move by using internal gut compression to bring forward the body muscle and skin in a rippling motion

Structural & Lightweight

Lightness and volume are achieved by a hydraulic system that creates movements through air.

When a rigid structure is placed inside a thin membrane, movements can be created as air is extracted from the space.

Directional

By adding restrictions to the internal structure, we can dictate the direction of the movement.

Applications

Rigid structures can be placed both on the inside and the outside of the membrane to create a hydraulic system where structures can be expanded to create mechanisms and space.

This structure can compress down to less than 1/3 of its original size.

Multiple hydraulic structures can combine to form complex robotics.

Complete Caterpillar

A complete model of the caterpillar's locomotion system is created by combining the mechanisms we designed.

Rigid structures can be placed both on the inside and the outside of the membrane to create a hydraulic system where structures can be expanded to create mechanisms and space.

 

Applications onto the Mobile Hubs

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We created compressible, mechanical, and lightweight hydraulic systems for our mobile service hubs. These social architectures can be transported, deployed, and be set up quickly, thus interacting with its surrounding residents in flexible and diverse ways.

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The experience would be a soft and organic environment that interacts with lights and natural elements, allowing people to experience the duality of the interior and exterior of the space. 

Not only is the service design flexible and adaptive to different cities, but so are the physical structural design that houses these services, which are soft to touch and reactive to the local landscape.

 
 

Moving Forward...

  • I would like to use the mechanisms we created to engineer a connection system where one hub can connect to the other without the help of external devices.
     

  • Research and find architectural material for the construction of the membrane component of the system.
     

  •  Create a higher fidelity scaled system of different hubs, connections, and tunnels that we can mechanically control.
     

  • 1:1 model and user testing.

 

Bonus Experiments

Thank you! Check out my other projects!