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Bugs | Projects

  • 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.