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- Home | DT Polet
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- Research | DT Polet
Overview Current Research Minimal Models Pitch-Translation Tradeoff Hypothesis Split-belt SLIP Reduced Gravity Locomotion Past Research Insect Wing Wetting Perching with Rapid Area Change Overview Broadly, my research uses mechanical principles to understand how animal form relates to function. Mechanical principles apply real constraints to organisms, which they manage and exploit through adaptation (evolution) and plasticity (development and learning). Currently, I am studying how patterns in locomotion emerge from optimization processes. A prevailing hypothesis posits that organisms often choose locomotion patterns minimizing effort (metabolic energy expenditure), while fulfilling some relevant task- foraging, migrating or tracking. Through modelling and experiment, I have been putting this hypothesis to the test. e.g. Current Research Minimally-constrained model of legged locomotion Conceptual models in locomotion vary from extremely abstract (e.g. a single point mass on a stick) to extremely complex (e.g. high-fidelity OpenSim musculoskeletal models). I'm developing a model in the balance; sufficiently complex to make precise about behaviour ( walk-run transition speeds, preferred gaits) but simple enough to understand underlying mechanisms, and applicable to a broad range of organisms. predictions e.g. I describe the latest model in . Consisting of four "pistons" connected to a rigid body, it accurately predicts walking at slow speeds and trotting at intermediate speeds the walk-trot transition speed for dogs. Importantly, this model has no springs, suggesting that elastic tendons are not a prerequisite for the economy of these strategies. PLOS Computational Biology and The Pitch-Translation Tradeoff Hypothesis Why do mammals trot? This "two-beat" gait involves expensive up-down oscillation of the body, that could be mitigated with distributed "four-beat" gaits. Yet trotting is the slow-running gait of choice for most mammals - though some, like giraffes, wildebeest and elephants, prefer not to trot. I have been exploring whether the pitch moment of inertia resolves this conundrum. Pitching the body is expensive, and can be avoided with a trot. But if your body naturally pitching ( a giraffe's long neck), then you can use alternatives to trotting. resists e.g. I have validated this theory in a modelling framework ( , ) and am looking to perform experiments and measurements to verify it in animals. preprint talk Split belt SLIP What does a bird have to do with split-belt treadmills? Seabirds fly along the surface of the ocean, where layers of wind move at different speeds. The birds take advantage of this velocity difference to , in a strategy called "dynamic soaring". A biped can similarly exploit the different belt speeds of a split-belt treadmill. We use a spring-loaded inverted pendulum (SLIP) model to determine what strategy extracts the most energy from a split belt treadmill– and whether this strategy is employed by humans extract energy from the wind Reduced gravity locomotion To determine if animals choose gaits to optimize metabolic energy expenditure, we can modify their environment to make the usual pattern suboptimal, while an unusual pattern becomes more economical. Changing gravity is a pronounced environmental change with a reliable effect on an organism's mechanics. With simple conceptual models, we can make specific predictions about how humans and other animals will adapt for economical locomotion. , , , JEB paper Dynamic Walking Poster Summary Video Longer Video Past Research Insect wing microstructure for efficient drop shedding Insect wings are covered in small bumps, hairs or scales called microstructures. These microstructures often have a particular but locally-variable orientation. Why? For my undergraduate independent research project, I showed that the orientation may promote efficient drop shedding. Published in PLOS One Wing rapid area change for fast perching Many birds go from flying at a high speed to landing on a small branch in fractions of a second. One way they may accomplish this is by quickly changing the frontal area of their wings. This "rapid area change" takes advantage of strange added mass effects, quickly shedding the mass of the air attached to the wing like propellant firing out of a rocket nozzle. Published: , See also my J Fluid Mech . Bioinsp Biomim tutorial on added mass recovery
- Publications | DT Polet
Publications Google Scholar 2020 (in revision). Polet DT . The Murphy number: how pitch moment of inertia dictates quadrupedal walking and running energetics. Preprint: bioRxiv. 2020.04.24.060509 doi: 10.1101/2020.04.24.060509 2019. Polet DT, Bertram JEA. An inelastic quadrupedal model discovers four-beat walking, two-beat running, and pseudo-elastic actuation as energetically optimal. PLOS Computational Biology 15(11): e1007444 doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007444 2018. Polet DT, Schroeder RT, Bertram JEA. Reducing gravity takes the bounce out of running. Journal of Experimental Biology 221(3):jeb162024 doi: . 10.1242/jeb.162024 2015. Polet DT, Rival DE. Rapid area change in pitch-up manoeuvres of small perching birds. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics 20(6):066004 doi: . 10.1088/1748-3190/10/6/066004 2015. Polet DT , Flynn MR, Sperling FAH. A mathematical model to capture complex microstructure orientation on insect wings. PLOS ONE 10(10):e0138282 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138282 2015. Polet DT , Rival DE, Weymouth GD. Unsteady dynamics of rapid perching manoeuvres. Journal of Fluid Mechanics 767:323-341 doi: 10.1017/jfm.2015.61 2013. Sutherland BR, Polet D, Campbell M. Gravity currents shoaling on a slope. Physics of Fluids 25(8): 086604 doi: 10.1063/1.4818440