A system-of-systems bio-inspired design process: Conceptual design and physical prototype of a reconfigurable robot capable of multi-modal locomotion

Ning Tan, Zhenglong Sun, Rajesh Elara Mohan, Nishann Brahmananthan, Srinivasan Venkataraman, Ricardo Sosa, Kristin Wood

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Modern engineering problems require solutions with multiple functionalities in order to meet their practical needs to handle a variety of applications in different scenarios. Conventional design paradigms for single design purpose may not be able to satisfy this requirement efficiently. This paper proposes a novel system-of-systems bio-inspired design method framed in a solution-driven bio-inspired design paradigm. The whole design process consists of eight steps, that is, (1) biological solutions identification, (2) biological solutions definition/champion biological solutions, (3) principle extraction from each champion biological solution, (4) merging of extracted principles, (5) solution reframing, (6) problem search, (7) problem definition, and (8) principles application & implementation. The steps are elaborated and a case study of reconfigurable robots is presented following these eight steps. The design originates from the multimodal locomotion capabilities of two species (i.e., spiders and primates) and is analyzed based on the Pugh analysis. The resulting robotic platform could be potentially used for urban patrolling purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
JournalFrontiers in Neurorobotics
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bio-inspired design
  • Mobile robotics
  • Multi-model locomotion
  • Reconfigurable robots
  • System-of-systems

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