Active Matter, Biophysics and Robotic Physics

We have been exploring collective motion in a type of swimming nematode called vinegar eels. At high concentration they form metachronal waves which can drive flows. The little worms are about 1mm long and they can be seen by eye. They are in the class of active matter known as swarmalators because they can be considered to be self propelled oscillators.
Using simulations, we have been exploring how active materials might be used to activate mechanisms through their collective motions.
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.