Thesis subject

“Quantifying micropattern dimensions” - Bioinspiration for Soft Robotics

Within the 4TU project Soft Robotics, we aim to unravel fundamental functioning of soft biological gripping systems to provide bioinspiration for the design of next-generation soft robots. Among others, we focus on the soft sticky toe pads of tree frogs, which enable these animals to safely grip even under challenging conditions (e.g. in a wet environment). This remarkable attachment performance renders tree frogs a fascinating model for development of biomimetic adhesive soft robots that can interact gently and flexibly with delicate and variable objects such as agricultural products.

Thesis content

Examples of scanning electron micrographs of the micropattern found on tree frog toe pads.
Examples of scanning electron micrographs of the micropattern found on tree frog toe pads.

The toe pads of tree frogs bear on their ventral side a pattern of microscopic pillars that are separated by a network of interconnected channels. This micropattern has been depicted in multiple publications for various species. Several hypotheses have been put forward regarding the functionality of this micropattern in tree frog attachment. However, none of these hypotheses has been tested quantitatively. On the way to such an examination, you will quantify geometric parameters of the micropattern using state-of-the-art image analysis methods, and test for phylogenetic and allometric trends in micropattern dimensions and features. This subject is available from 08/2020. Depending on your profile, this project can be executed as BSc or MSc thesis.

The following requirements should be fulfilled by the applicant:
-Good knowledge in biomechanics
-Good knowledge in image analysis (e.g. ImageJ)
-Good programming skills in MATLAB
-Good knowledge in MS Office
-Basic knowledge in statistics is helpful

For questions or application (incl. CV and letter of motivation), please contact Julian Langowski via the contact form.

Examiner: Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan L. van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Julian Langowski
Contact: Julian Langowski (via contact form)
Begin date: 01/08/2020 (variable)
End date: 01/02/2021 (variable)
Credits: 30 ECTS (variable)
For: MSc/BSc Biology
Requirements: Successful completion of Functional Zoology (EZO 30806)
Used skills: Experimental design, Data management, Image recording and analysis, Pro-gramming, Biomimetics, Scientific writing and presentation