Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > NSF Emerging Frontiers' program supports development of smart materials based on study of fish

Virginia Tech Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Michael Philen is the principal investigator in an interdisciplinary, three-university, National Science Foundation study to create biologically inspired material systems that have hierarchically structured sensing, actuation, and intelligent control.

Credit: Virginia Tech photo
Virginia Tech Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Michael Philen is the principal investigator in an interdisciplinary, three-university, National Science Foundation study to create biologically inspired material systems that have hierarchically structured sensing, actuation, and intelligent control.

Credit: Virginia Tech photo

Abstract:
After engineers and scientists at Virginia Tech, Harvard and Drexel finish studying the locomotion of fish in water, Michael Phelps may find he still has a few new ways to increase his own world-breaking Olympic times.

NSF Emerging Frontiers' program supports development of smart materials based on study of fish

Blacksburg, VA | Posted on August 19th, 2009

The remarkable ability of fish to maneuver in tight places, or to hover in one area efficiently, or to accelerate in a seemingly effortless fashion has researchers wondering if they can create smarter materials that emulate the biology of these vertebrates.

With an eye towards homeland defense needs, engineers have also noted that fish through neuromasts or 'hairs' in the lateral line are able to sense very small changes in their watery environment that allows them to detect and track prey and to form hydrodynamic images of the environment.

Michael Philen, assistant professor of aerospace and ocean engineering (AOE) at Virginia Tech, has pulled together a team of researchers to study these abilities and hopefully develop biologically inspired material systems that have hierarchically structured sensing, actuation, and intelligent control. This research will lead to state-of-the-art advanced materials that can intelligently sense and actuate a network of distributed robust sensors and actuators.

Philen has prior experience in this area. As a post doctoral researcher at Penn State, he spent time on a three-year project with the Defense Army Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a new structure/actuation system inspired by the mechanical, chemical, and electrical properties of plants.

Philen's proposal to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program to study fish to create smarter materials has received $1.95 million in funding. Philen's co-principal investigators are Harry Dorn, professor of chemistry, and Don Leo, associate dean of engineering, both at Virginia Tech. George Lauder, a professor of biology at Harvard, and James Tangorra, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Drexel, round out the team.

Working together, the team will develop distributed sensors and actuators using nanotechnology, advanced composite technology, and smart polymeric materials for understanding the organization and structure of the control systems fish use for sensing and maneuvering.

With the inclusion of Harvard University, the research team also plans to develop a traveling exhibit on robotic fish that showcases the biology of aquatic propulsion, new actuator and sensing technologies and how these can be integrated to design a robotic fish. Harvard's Museum of Natural History (http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu/ with its links to "Kids and Families" and "Educators" receive some 33,000 school-aged visitors each year. They will have access to the robotic fish exhibit on line through this site.

Lisa McNair of Virginia Tech's Engineering Education Department, an expert on applying theories of interdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching practices, will work with the Harvard Museum to assess the impact on the students' understanding of the biological mechanisms that allow fish to sense, swim and maneuver efficiently with minimal processing.

Philen explained that over the past 20 years experts such as George Lauder from Harvard have investigated a number of aspects of fish control systems for movement. These studies have shown that fish possess a two-gear muscular system that controls movement. One is for slow-speed movement and the other is for rapid movements and escape responses.

"Despite this progress, there is still very little understanding of the structure and organization of the hierarchical control systems in fish or how the actuation and sensing systems are integrated to perform steady and maneuvering locomotor tasks," Philen said. "Researchers have explored various system identification techniques for characterizing and understanding a number of biological systems, such as insect walking, renal autoregulation in rats, and locomotor oscillators in the spinal cords of lampreys. However, little or no research has been done on the hierarchal control systems found in fish."

The team of researchers plans to create a robotic fish-like underwater vehicle by integrating their biological investigations of the fish with engineering knowledge about sensors and actuators.

"We view this as an exciting opportunity to create a transformative leap in the development of new biologically inspired material systems," Philen said.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lynn Nystrom

540-231-4371

Copyright © Virginia Tech

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials May 17th, 2017

Discoveries

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Plasmon-powered upconversion nanocrystals for enhanced bioimaging and polarized emission: Plasmonic gold nanorods brighten lanthanide-doped upconversion superdots for improved multiphoton bioimaging contrast and enable polarization-selective nonlinear emissions for novel nanoscal May 19th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

Stanford scientists use nanotechnology to boost the performance of key industrial catalyst May 18th, 2017

Self-healing tech charges up performance for silicon-containing battery anodes May 15th, 2017

Discovery of new transparent thin film material could improve electronics and solar cells: Conductivity is highest-ever for thin film oxide semiconductor material May 6th, 2017

CCNY physicists demonstrate photonic hypercrystals for control of light-matter interaction May 5th, 2017

Announcements

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Leti Will Demo World’s-first WVGA 10-µm Pitch GaN Microdisplays for Augmented Reality Video at Display Week in Los Angles: Invited Paper also Will Present Leti’s Success with New Augmented Reality Technology That Reduces Pixel Pitch to Less than 5 Microns May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries: Rice University prototypes store 3 times the energy of lithium-ion batteries May 19th, 2017

Homeland Security

Nanosensors on the alert for terrorist threats: Scientists interested in the prospects of gas sensors based on binary metal oxide nanocomposites November 5th, 2016

Nanobionic spinach plants can detect explosives: After sensing dangerous chemicals, the carbon-nanotube-enhanced plants send an alert November 2nd, 2016

Notre Dame researchers find transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials September 6th, 2016

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

Sports

Applied Graphene Materials plc - Significant commercial progress in AGM’s three core sectors March 3rd, 2017

STMicroelectronics Peps Up Booming Social-Fitness Scene with Smart Motion Sensors for Better Accuracy, Longer Battery Life, and Faster Time to Market January 2nd, 2017

Abalonyx launches Reduced Graphene Oxide Product: Abalonyx has successfully scaled up production of thermally reduced graphene oxide (rGO) in its Tofte, Norway, production facility. This product is now offered to customers in Kg-quantities May 10th, 2016

What makes penguin feathers ice-proof February 24th, 2016

Nanobiotechnology

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Sensors detect disease markers in breath May 19th, 2017

Oddball enzyme provides easy path to synthetic biomaterials May 17th, 2017

The brighter side of twisted polymers: Conjugated polymers designed with a twist produce tiny, brightly fluorescent particles with broad applications May 16th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project