Bio-Inspiration When reading about bio-inspired robot design, it seems that a common approach for a roboticist to take is as follows: specify a need or problem (robot needs to move across variety of terrain) look to nature for systems which adequately fill this need (snake can slither across variety of terrain) develop mechanical system inspired by biological system (snake robot) This approach allows roboticists to find specific mechanical systems to apply to their designs, but does not necessarily encourage them to look to nature as a source for inspiration more broadly.
Our task this week was to familiarize ourselves with the materials and techniques for prototyping inflatable structures. We are using aluminized Mylar, sealed with a various heating implements, to create these prototypes. This thin (5 mil) Mylar film has been coated on one side with aluminum, and is most commonly seen in the form of drug store balloons – specifically the round, star, and otherwise non-balloon-shaped balloons. The aluminum coating allows us to easily heat-seal different sections of Mylar together by without gumming up our tools with melted plastic.