National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Case Western Reserve University Department of Biology Seminar Presents “Springs, Sensors and Gears: Lessons In Mechanical Design Learned From Insects”

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Date/Time
09/08/2016

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(Lecture open to University and Affiliates)

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016 – 4:15 p.m. DeGrace Hall, Room 312Light refreshments will be served.

Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biology

Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Botany

Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Botany

Dr. Gregory Sutton, PhDRoyal Society University Research Fellow.
School of Biological Sciences University of Bristol – UKMy research is on the biomechanics of insect motions. Primarily, I look at locomotion (jumping) and sensory systems for mechanical examples of how insects accomplish the incredible feats they engage in every day. Insect jumps require large amounts of energy to be stored and released in extremely short times requiring an intricate series of biological spring systems to store the energy, linkage systems to control how the energy is transmitted to the ground, and gear systems to keep the linkage systems synchronized through these extremely fast motions. Likewise, some insect sensory systems use a biological series of high precision levers to measure extremely small mechanical forces. They can even measure the extremely small forces generated by small electric fields; allowing some insects to differentiate between flowers just on the basis of a flower’s individual electric field.