Thesis subject

“Kinematic analyses of detaching tree frogs using deep learning pose tracking” - 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

Tracking the positions of the adhesive toe pads of Litoria caerulea (BSc thesis project, M. van den Munckhof).
Tracking the positions of the adhesive toe pads of Litoria caerulea (BSc thesis project, M. van den Munckhof).

We observed in previous experiments that tree frogs can remain attached to overhanging surfaces while swinging back and forth with only a few limbs in contact with the substrate. You will use advanced deep learning methods (e.g. DeepLabCut) to extract the kinematics of such swinging motions from high-speed recordings. From the kinematic data, you will quantify the ineratial loads acting on the adhesive toes via inverse dynamics, and provide a measure of the maximum attachment performance of tree frogs with unprecedented accuracy. This subject is available from 08/2020.

The following requirements should be fulfilled by the applicant:
-Good knowledge in biomechanics
-Good programming skills in Python and/or MATLAB
-Good knowledge in MS Office
-Understanding of adhesion and friction is helpful
-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 Biology
Requirements: Successful completion of Functional Zoology (EZO 30806)
Used skills: Experimental design, Kinematic analysis, Data management, Image recording and analysis, Programming, Biomimetics, Scientific writing and presentation