A STUDY ON APHONOPELMA SEEMANI BIOMECHANICS OF MOTION WITH EMPHASIS ON POTENTIAL FOR BIOMIMETIC ROBOTICS DESIGN
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With a stable center of mass, pneumatic-aided movement, and the ability to scale multiple terrain types, the uniquely efficient and lightweight form of spiders has changed the way we think about robotic design. While the number of papers on arachnid biomechanics and spider-based biomimetic robots has been increasing in recent years, the style of analysis and the motion-types analyzed have barely changed since the 1980s. Current analyses are based on a force plate and treadmill design, in which the spider is induced into an escape run. This environmental change can affect the movements of the spider. Here I propose a novel method of testing the biomechanical and kinematic properties of spiders using a tank with a built-in sensor matrix which allows for a more natural environment for the specimens and provides force data from individual legs. The system detects a minimum force of .0196 N and has a sampling rate of 1,000 samples /second, which allows for the analysis of forces during the step. Aphonopelma seemanni, a tarantula commonly used in such research, but whose forces during movement have to date not been analyzed, was recorded walking across the matrix, and the forces, step patterns, joint angles, and center of mass deviations were recorded. Walking indicated significantly different step pattern traits than current literature, and forces per leg (.07281 N±.0235) recorded were much smaller than expected in comparison to other spiders. Statistical analysis also indicated no changes in walking movement over a range of temperatures, which also varies from literature. These findings indicate that further research on spiders should be done with respect to walking gaits in order to improve upon current biomimetic models.