Project summary

Ariana DeFranc

Our purpose for this project was to construct a machine that would replicate the movement of a bug. Our solution was to create a kinetic system that would emulate the momentment of an inchworm through a mechanical structure involving 5 major moving modules. We learned that bugs are the most efficient species, and we had to pick a bug to replicate. We decided to go with an inchworm, because we found the way it moved interesting, and different then most other bugs.

Since insects are such an efficient part of our natural world, we can use their mechanisms of movement to further our technological world.Our project is based on the movement of an inchworm. It is broken up into segments and the a string runs through each segment. When the green button is pushed, a motor reels in the string, pulling it taut and pulling the segments of the body up into an arc. When the red button is pushed, the string unwinds and the body relaxes to start the process over again.When we first started, we wanted to use some kind of rubber to make the body, and a magnetic system to contract the body. After testing different things out, we decided upon a stronger material for the body and a more realistic mechanism.We struggled with the shape of the body segments. We needed something that would move freely, but be supportive enough to hold itself up.

Our first iteration was made up of cylinders. They were attached by screws to allow for movement. The problem was that it rolled and slid around instead of staying steady on the ground.For our next version, we made the two end pieces into prisms so that they had a flat side to lay on the ground. The flat side kept it stable, and we would add legs onto the bottom for extra support. The problem with this model was that the cylinders in the middle were not supported and would droop down to the ground.In our next model, we made each segment of the body a prism. We lengthened the arms that connected the segments and added curves into the side of each prism to guide the movement and add support.


Spyridon Ampanavos

Inchworm video

Ariana DeFranc

Grasshopper jumping

Tom Carey


Ronan O'Callaghan and Sam Tull

This is a video of our centipede, unfortunately, not all the segments are synchronized. 


Spyridon Ampanavos

Centipede Process Post

Sam Tull

Imagine that you have just been wounded, and have no materials or ways to mend it. This can be very dangerous, which is why we invented something to bring it to you at a moment's notice. The Centipede is an all-terrain vehicle designed to carry supplies and bring them to those in need. It is broken into multiple segments to be able to bend and adapt to turns and hills in the enviroment. Each foot makes contact with the ground right after the one before it to keep the robot stable. The Centipede uses an extremely simple design, and each segment is just holding 2 gears, one attached to the motor, and one attached to the axel. The joint holding it together is 2 hinges slotted into each other to keep the segments limber and able to move about. We first built everything in cardboard, but it wasn't holding together, and obviously wasn't permanent enough, so we switched to wood and 3d printed legs. Originally we were going to build a Snail instead of a Centipede that would lay cement when placed on a brick wall, but just seemed a little tacky. Next, we went on to build an actual Centipede, which was far too heavy each segment was too big, and wouldn't hold together. We eventually made the segments smaller with no walls, which put each segment at about 4 ounces. We still weren't able to get the Centipede walking in the end, just because we didn't have motors that were strong enough to lift the entire thing, and fit inside the segments. 

Project Summary

Emmett Wickham-Decter and Tom Carey

The problem we faced was that we needed to examine the efficient minimal structures of insects and in particular the architecture of their motor systems and their patterns of movement. The insect we attempted to replicate was a grasshopper. We did this by first going through a series of design explorations involving the study of linkages and motion. We then, in a minimal scale, designed a mechanical system that mimics the jumping motion of a grasshopper. We used a Servo and leaf springs to make it jump through compression and release of the springs connected to the legs. The legs were connected to a box that held the Servo and represented the body of the grasshopper. 

Our project was to mimic the motion and architecture of an insect or bug. We did this by creating a grasshopper that could jump like the actual insect. To make our grasshopper jump, we compressed leaf spring and hooked it into a notch in the body of the grasshopper to keep it from moving. Inside the box is a Servo that moves the legs back and forth. When the Servo moves the legs forward, they detach from the notch and the structure jumps. Throughout our project, our first idea remained relatively the same throughout. At first, we thought that we would just use springs to make it jump, but as we moved on we realized that we needed to use a Servo to release the spring. We also added lots of modifications for the box, including a place to hold the Servo. One challenge we faces was the locking mechanism for the legs, but we overcame that by adding a notch.


For our first iteration we mainly focused on the legs. We used Rhino to comstruct a three jointed leg with small wooden stoppers to keep it from over extending. We then started with the idea of a single axle that would connect the legs to make the motion fluid.

With our second design we added a platform to hold the servo and created an axle from piano wire. We cut a half circle to allow the legs to extend as the servo pushed them. We ran into complications with the fact that the two sides of the axle didnt move at the same time. We then used rhino to design the box to work better with the servo.

For our third iteration we 3-D printed a piece to keep the axle straight inside the box. We also had trouble with the servo bouncing around so we made a cardboard holder to keep it from moving around. We fixed the legs by adding new holes for the leaf spring holder.


Emmett Wickham-Decter and Tom Carey

Short presentation

David Moskowitz

Our project demonstrates the movement of an insect. We chose the ant as our insect and we worked to achieve the movement using different materials. We used servos to control the movement of each leg and powered it through a battery. We coded an ardunio to move in a specific pattern which would make the insect go forward. The biggest issue we faced was coding the arduino to make the legs go horizontal and vertical at the same time while making the project move.