Steve Cho, Kevin Hu WF Green Research Proposal

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Brief project overview

- mimicking the Hercules beetle to develop stronger machines capable of lifting and carrying heavier loads than current machines

Background information

- the Hercules beetle possesses exceptional strength, even for an insect

- they can lift 100+ X bodyweight

- able to walk with 40X bodyweight without expending much more energy than normal

Research problem and goals

- current machines don’t even approach the strength of ants, much less the Hercules beetle

- obviously, the whole size-scale thing plays a role, but it is still worth looking into why the H beetle is much stronger than other similarly sized or even smaller insects

- there should be something special about the way the Hercules beetle is built that gives it its strength

- utilizing this could lead to stronger and more efficient machinery for humans, potentially with small-scale design and potential scaleup

Project details and methods

- detailed full body scan of Hercules beetle and then use computer simulations to find points of stress under various loads and how the beetle compensates for those stresses

- take live specimens and observe them under real life loads to verify simulations, potentially with mechano-sensing proteins

- make machines based on what we find to replicate the strength and see how they compare to similar sized machines based on traditional technology

Predicted outcomes

- if everything goes well: capable of large construction machines that can lift significantly more than currently available, or manufacturing biomechanical limbs and armor suits capable of granting immense strength to wearers

- if nothing does: need to come up with a different way to mimic these beetles because it is definitely worth pursuing

Resources needed

- scanner machines, detailed observation equipment to identify the structure behind the Hercules beetle's function

- beetles

- other insects and small-scale machines for comparison

- powerful computers for in silico stress loading


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