The thing that makes your cell phone buzz is a vibrational motor
and they cost about two dollars. We have been using them to explore
low cost locomotion strategies in complex media (slime, sand) that are
not necessarily biologically motivated.
There are not necessarily any similar biological examples.
The locomotion mechanisms can have no external moving parts as they
move because of the motor's recoil.
- A coin vibrational motor powered hopper that can hop
across granular media. It turns out
that aerodynamics is important!
A Light-weight High Froude N
umber Vibrational Motor Powered Recoil Robot that Hops Rapidly Across Granular Media
submitted to the Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics
Click on this image to see high speed videos of the mechanism
hopping on poppy seeds
The vibration causes streaming in a fluid and if you break the rotational
symmetry the motor can swim! This paper illustrates a novel and low cost
robotic swimmer at Low Reynolds number (in glycerin) that has no external moving parts.
A coin vibrational motor swimming at low Reynolds number,
published in Regular and Chaotic Dynamics, 2016, Vol. 21, No. 7-8, pp 902-917.
Click on the figure to see the movie!
Showing the glycerin velocity field in the frame of the swimming motor.