Abstract

Although the actuation mechanisms that drive plant movement have been investigated from a biomimetic perspective, few studies have looked at the wider sensing and control systems that regulate this motion. This paper examines photo-actuation—actuation induced by, and controlled with light—through a review of the sun-tracking functions of the Cornish Mallow. The sun-tracking movement of the Cornish Mallow leaf results from an extraordinarily complex—yet extremely elegant—process of signal perception, generation, filtering and control. Inspired by this process, a concept for a simplified biomimetic analogue of this leaf is proposed: a multifunctional structure employing chemical sensing, signal transmission, and control of composite hydrogel actuators. We present this multifunctional structure, and show that the success of the concept will require improved selection of materials and structural design. This device has application in the solar-tracking of photovoltaic panels for increased energy yield. More broadly it is envisaged that the concept of chemical sensing and control can be expanded beyond photo-actuation to many other stimuli, resulting in new classes of robust solid-state devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number036015
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2014

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Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception

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