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Engineered jumpers overcome biological limits via work multiplication

Hawkes, Elliot W. and Xiao, Charles and Peloquin, Richard-Alexandre and Keeley, Christopher and Begley, Matthew R. and Pope, Morgan T. and Niemeyer, Günter (2022) Engineered jumpers overcome biological limits via work multiplication. Nature, 604 (7907). pp. 657-661. ISSN 0028-0836. doi:10.1038/s41586-022-04606-3. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20220503-120651700

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Abstract

For centuries, scientists have explored the limits of biological jump height, and for decades, engineers have designed jumping machines that often mimicked or took inspiration from biological jumpers. Despite these efforts, general analyses are missing that compare the energetics of biological and engineered jumpers across scale. Here we show how biological and engineered jumpers have key differences in their jump energetics. The jump height of a biological jumper is limited by the work its linear motor (muscle) can produce in a single stroke. By contrast, the jump height of an engineered device can be far greater because its ratcheted or rotary motor can ‘multiply work’ during repeated strokes or rotations. As a consequence of these differences in energy production, biological and engineered jumpers should have divergent designs for maximizing jump height. Following these insights, we created a device that can jump over 30 metres high, to our knowledge far higher than previous engineered jumpers and over an order of magnitude higher than the best biological jumpers. Our work advances the understanding of jumping, shows a new level of performance, and underscores the importance of considering the differences between engineered and biological systems.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04606-3DOIArticle
https://rdcu.be/cMBPMPublisherFree ReadCube access
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Hawkes, Elliot W.0000-0002-0420-5025
Xiao, Charles0000-0003-4072-1649
Keeley, Christopher0000-0001-7033-4362
Begley, Matthew R.0000-0002-2514-1307
Pope, Morgan T.0000-0002-8393-7493
Additional Information:© 2022 Nature Publishing Group. Received 14 December 2020; Accepted 03 March 2022; Published 27 April 2022. We thank W. Heap for assistance with jumper design and testing, K. Chen for assistance testing jumpers, F. Porter for assistance with modelling, H. Bluestone for editorial suggestions, G. Hawkes for early discussions on the limits of jumping, S. Rufeisen and K. Park for help filming, A. Sauret for sharing high-speed videography equipment, and K. Fields for technical support. This work was partially supported by an Early Career Faculty grant from NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program. Data availability: All data are available in Extended Data Tables 1–3. Code availability: MATLAB code for the energy production and utilization models and the state-space model, as well as the spring simulation, are available upon request. Contributions: E.W.H., M.T.P. and G.N. designed the research; E.W.H., R.-A.P. and C.K. performed the experiments; E.W.H., M.T.P., G.N., C.K., C.X. and R.-A.P. analysed the data; C.X., M.R.B. and G.N. performed modelling and simulations; C.K., R.-A.P. and E.W.H. built the jumpers; E.W.H., G.N. and C.X. wrote the paper; E.W.H., M.T.P. and G.N. supervised the project. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature thanks Sawyer Fuller, Gregory Sutton and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASAUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Biological physics; Mechanical engineering
Issue or Number:7907
DOI:10.1038/s41586-022-04606-3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220503-120651700
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20220503-120651700
Official Citation:Hawkes, E.W., Xiao, C., Peloquin, RA. et al. Engineered jumpers overcome biological limits via work multiplication. Nature 604, 657–661 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04606-3
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114555
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 May 2022 19:24
Last Modified:11 Jul 2022 17:06

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