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課程來源:TED
     
Robert Full談向壁虎的尾巴學習
Robert Full: Learning from the gecko's tail


講者:Robert Full
2009年2月演講,2009年6月在TED上線


翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:劉契良

簡繁轉換:陳盈

後製:劉契良

字幕影片後製:謝旻均


影片請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講
生物學家Robert Full研究壁虎超具黏性的腳,及頑強的攀登技巧等令人嘆為觀止的特性。但高速影片顯示,壁虎的尾巴也許才是牠最令人吃驚的天賦。

關於Robert Full
Robert Full研究蟑螂腿和壁虎腳。他的研究是以進化的古老工程為基礎,幫助未來機器人建立功能完美的「分佈式足」。
 
為什麼要聽他演講:
加州大學柏克萊分校生物學家Robert Full深受蟑螂腿的功能所吸引,因為它能讓蟑螂全速疾跑於鬆散的網布上;而有數十多億根奈米大小細毛的壁虎腳,則能在牆上垂直攀升。他運用自己的研究設計完美的機械「分佈式足」,在金屬腿上加入尖刺、細毛和其他部分,創造出能夠靈活奔跑跳躍的機器。

他還協助創造出如Spinybot之類的機器人,使其可以像壁虎一樣攀上垂直的玻璃,他甚至還幫助皮克斯動畫工作室,在電影《蟲蟲危機》中製作更逼真的昆蟲動畫。

「Full博士欣然承認,他在現實生活中研究的一些生物可能令人感到噁心,但牠們提供了如何征服具挑戰性領域的寶貴見解」。
《經濟學人》
Robert Full的英語網上資料
維基百科: Hexapod robotics
 
[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]
已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Robert Full談向壁虎的尾巴學習

我今天想與大家分享一個原創發現,但我想呈現其真實的面貌,而不是以我在科學會議所闡述,或你從科學論文上讀到的形式呈現,這是一個超越仿生學領域的故事,我稱之為生物互利共生。
 
 
我將其定義為生物學和其牠學科間的關連性,每個學科相輔相成,但其整體上的發展則超出了任何單一領域,以仿生學的觀點來看,人類科技師法了大多的自然性質大自然是助益良多的老師,工程可以由生物學得到啟發,利用其較優的原理和類比方式,但將其與最好的人體工學相結合,最終能創造出比大自然更棒的東西。
 
 
身為一名生物學家,我對壁虎的腳趾很好奇,我們想知道牠們如何使用這些怪異的腳趾,這麼快就爬上牆,我們探索了箇中秘密之後發現,牠們的腳趾是葉狀結構,有著數百萬計的細毛,看上去就像一塊地毯,每根細毛的分叉端極多,約有100至1000個奈米大小的分叉端,每根腳趾就有20億個奈米大小的分叉端,牠們的附著力不是靠魔鬼氈或吸盤或膠水而來,事實上牠們僅由分子間作用力來吸附,即凡德瓦力。
 
 
真的很高興告訴大家,第一個人造自潔乾式黏氈已成功製造出來了,從自然界最簡單的版本,單一分枝,我的技術合作者,柏克萊的Ron Fearing做出了第一個合成版本,另一位傑出的合作者是史丹佛的Mark Cutkosky,他製造出比壁虎更大量的細毛,依然使用同樣的原理,這是他的第一次試驗。
 
 
(笑聲)
 
 
這是Kellar Autumn,我的前博士班的學生,現在是路易斯克拉克大學教授,竟然讓他的第一個孩子的來做這個試驗。(笑聲)。這是最近的一個試驗。
 
 
男子:這是第一次有人實際用它來做攀登。
 
旁白:Lynn Verinsky,專業攀岩玩家,她似乎充滿了自信。
 
Lynn Verinsky:說實話,這將是絕對安全的。絕對安全。
 
男子:你怎麼知道?
 
Lynn Verinsky:因為責任保險。
 
旁白:下面放著防護墊,並繫著安全繩。
 
Lynn將開始60英尺的向上攀升,Lynn成功到達頂端,在好萊塢和科學的完美搭配下。
 
男子:所以妳是第一個正式模仿壁虎的人。
 
Lynn Verinsky:哈!哇。多榮幸啊!
 
Robert Full:這是她在粗糙表面所做的試驗,事實上,她也在平滑表面上使用這兩片腳板,向上攀升並將自己拉上,你可以在大廳試試,觀察一下由壁虎啟發製成的材料,用於機器人會產生一個問題,若使用這材料的話,它們無法脫離攀附。
 
 
這是壁虎的解決方法,事實上牠們能夠使自己的腳趾以極高的速率剝離表面,當牠們在牆上攀升時,真的很高興今天能向你們展示,最新版本的機器人-Stickybot,使用一種新的乾式黏氈,這是機器人實物,這是它的作用,如果你仔細看,可以看到它使用腳趾從表面剝離,就像壁虎一樣,如果用影片顯示,你可以看到它爬上牆。
 
 
(掌聲)
 
 
就是這樣,現在它可以在其他表面行走,因為使用新式粘氈,史丹佛團隊設計出
這個令人嘆為觀止的機器人。
 
 
(掌聲)
 
 
哦,我要強調的是,看看Stickybot,它身上有個東西,它不只是看起來像壁虎,它有一條尾巴,正當你認為已經瞭解自然時,這種事就會發生,工程師告訴我們,對攀登機器人來說,如果沒有尾巴,它們就會掉下牆面,因此,他們問了我們一個重要的問題說:「嗯,這看起來像一條尾巴」,即使我們只是在那放一根不會動的棒子,「動物爬牆時會用到牠們的尾巴嗎」?
 
 
他們送出一份大禮,給我們一個生物學的假設進行測試,那是我們從未想過的概念,當然,事實上,我們有點驚慌失措,作為生物學家,我們應該早就想到這一點,我們說:「好吧,尾巴有什麼作用」?我們知道,例如尾巴能儲存脂肪,我們知道,你可以用它來捲住東西,也許最為人所知的是牠們能提供靜態平衡。
 
 
(笑聲)
 
 
它也可以作為抵消力,看這隻袋鼠,看那尾巴嗎?真是太不可思議了!Marc Raibert製造了Uniroo跳躍機器人,沒有尾巴的話它是不穩的,大部分尾巴限制了機動性,就像人類穿著恐龍裝一樣。
 
 
(笑聲)
 
 
我的同事實際測試了這個限制,增加了學生轉動慣量,所以他們裝著一個尾巴,穿越障礙賽跑場,發現其性能降低了,就跟預測的一樣。
 
 
(笑聲)
 
 
當然,這是一條不動的尾巴,但也可以裝條活動的尾巴,當回頭來做這個研究時,我發現到在過去一個很棒,由Nathan所發表的TED演講中,已經談過活動尾巴。
 
 
影片:Myhrvold認為尾部開裂的恐龍,對愛感興趣,而不是戰爭。
 
 
Robert Full:他談到尾巴是一個溝通的鞭子,也可以用於防禦,非常強而有力,我們回頭繼續動物實驗,我們讓牠在一個表面上往上爬,但這一次我們所做的是,設置了一個光滑的區塊,就是您所看到的黃色部份,看看右側,動物的尾巴會有什麼動作。
 
 
當牠滑落時,這是放慢10倍,這是正常的速度,看牠現在滑下來了,再看看牠如何使用尾巴,牠有一個活動的尾巴,功能相當於第5條腿,有助於穩定,如果讓牠下滑一大段路程,就是我們所要探索的,真是不可思議。
 
 
工程師們的想法相當棒,當然我們會想,Ok,牠們有活動的尾巴,讓我們替牠們拍一些照片,牠們爬上牆或一棵樹,牠們到達頂端,假設那裡有一些樹葉,如果牠們爬上樹葉背面會發生什麼情況,或是有點風,或者我們搖晃牠呢?我們做這樣的實驗,就是這樣。
 
 
(掌聲)
 
 
這就是我們所發現的,這是實時的情形,你還看不出任何東西,但現在放慢了,我們發現的是世界上最快的空中翻正反應,如果你還記得,所學過的物理,這是一個零角動量的,翻正反應,就像一隻貓,你知道,貓的降落,貓就是這樣做,牠們扭曲自己的身體,但壁虎做得更好,牠們用尾巴這樣做,牠們用活動尾巴做轉身動作,牠們總是以那種超人空中跳傘的姿勢著地。
 
 
Okay,現在我們想知道,如果我們是正確的,我們應該能測試於物理模型上,就是用機器人來做,為了TED演講,我們製作了一個機器人,就在那裡,這是一個原型,有尾巴,我們將要嘗試首開先例的尾巴空中翻正反應,用機器人來做
可以的話打個燈吧,Okay,開始。
 
 
再用影片放看看,就是這樣,它就像在動物身上那樣運作,所以,你只需要擺動尾巴來使自己翻正。
 
 
(掌聲)
 
 
當然,我們常會擔心,因為這種動物並不適應滑翔所以我們想:「噢,沒關係,我們將牠放在一個垂直風洞中」,我們把空氣向上打,提供牠著陸的目標-一截樹幹,就在塑膠玻璃外面,看看牠會怎麼做。
 
 
(笑聲)
 
 
我們就這麼做了,這就是牠的表現,風是來自底部,這是放慢10倍的影片,牠做了一個平衡的滑行,展現了高度主控性,這真是太不可思議了,但確實是相當漂亮,當你拍攝牠時,更棒的是,牠一面下滑,一面在半空中做操控,牠操控的方式是用尾巴,擺向一邊使自己向左偏航,擺向另一邊則向右偏航,因此,我們可以用這樣的方式來操控。
 
 
然後,我們拍攝了好幾次,以證實牠一直這麼做,看這個,牠像海豚一樣上下擺動尾巴,牠確實可以在空中游泳,但看牠的前腿,你看到它們在做什麼嗎?這對展翅飛翔的起源有何意義?也許這是一種來自於從樹上到地面的進化過程並試圖控制滑行,敬請期待。
 
 
(笑聲)
 
 
於是我們想,「牠們真的能做這樣的操控嗎」?我們設置了一個著陸目標,牠們真的能對正目標前進嗎?出現了,就在風洞中,看起來確實如此,從上面看下來會更清楚,看看這個動物,確實邁向著陸目標,看看牠尾巴的揮鞭動作,仔細看一看,這真是不可思議。
 
 
所以現在我們的確感到困惑,因為沒有關於牠滑翔行為的報告,因此,我們想:「噢,我的天,我們必須研究這個領域,看看牠是不是真的能夠做到」,與你在自然影片中所看到的完全不同,確實如此,我們想知道「在自然界中牠們確實會滑行嗎」?
 
 
於是我們就到了新加坡和東南亞地區的森林,下一部你看到的影片是我們的首播,這是真實的影片而不是舞台演出,是關於動物滑翔的真實研究影片,有一條紅色的軌跡線,看看終點端的動物,但是,當牠越來越接近樹,看這個實地觀察影片,看看你是否可以看到牠著陸。
 
 
牠滑下來了,有一個壁虎在軌跡線終點端,看到牠了嗎?就在那兒,看牠降落,現在看那裡,你可以看到牠著陸了,您們有看到牠落地嗎?牠實際上也是使用了尾巴,就像我們在實驗室看到的一樣所以,現在我們將共生學繼續做應用,就是建議他們作出活動的尾巴,這裡是第一個在機器人身上的活動尾巴,由波士頓動態科技公司製作,總結來說,我認為我們需要,建立生物共生學,如同我所展示,將其做應用將能增進基礎研究的腳步。
 
 
但要做到這一點,我們首要的是重新設計教育體制,深入平衡跨學科領域間的交流,明確培養人們如何作出貢獻並從其他學科中受益,當然,需要生物和環境相配合才能夠做到,也就是說,無論你關心的是安全、搜救或健康,我們都必須保護大自然的設計,否則這些秘密將永遠喪失了,而從新總統的演講聽來,我感到非常樂觀,謝謝。
 
 
(掌聲)
 




以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

Biologist Robert Full studies the amazing gecko, with its supersticky feet and tenacious climbing skill. But high-speed footage reveals that the gecko's tail harbors perhaps the most surprising talents of all.

About Robert Full

Robert Full studies cockroach legs and gecko feet. His research is helping build the perfect "distributed foot" for tomorrow's robots, based on evolution's ancient engineering. Full bio and more links

Transcript

Let me share with you today an original discovery. But I want to tell it to you the way it really happened. Not the way I present it in a scientific meeting, or the way you'd read it in a scientific paper. It's a story about beyond biomimetics, to something I'm calling biomutualism. I define that as an association between biology and another discipline. Where each discipline reciprocally advances the other, but where the collective discoveries that emerge are beyond any single field. Now, in terms of biomimetics, as human technologies take on more of the characteristics of nature, nature becomes a much more useful teacher. Engineering can be inspired by biology by using its principles and analogies when they're advantageous. But then integrating that with the best human engineering, ultimately to make something actually better than nature.

Now, being a biologist, I was very curious about this. These are gecko toes. And we wondered how they use these bizzare toes to climb up a wall so quickly. We discovered it. And what we found was that they have leaf-like structures on their toes, with millions of tiny hairs that look like a rug. And each of those hairs has the worst case of split-ends possible, about 100 to 1000 split ends, that are nano-size. And the individual has 2 billion of these nano-size split ends. They don't stick by Velcro or suction or glue. They actually stick by intermolecular forces alone, van der Waals forces. And I'm really pleased to report to you today that the first synthetic self-cleaning, dry adhesive has been made. From the simplest version in nature, one branch, my engineering collaborator, Ron Fearing, at Berkeley, had made the first synthetic version. And so has my other incredible collaborator, Mark Cutkosky, at Standford. He made much larger hairs than the gecko, but used the same general principles.

And here is its first test. (Laughter) That's Kellar Autumn, my former Ph.D. student, professor now at Lewis and Clark, literally giving his first born child up for this test. (Laughter)

More recently, this happened.

Man: This the first time someone has actually climbed with it.

Narrator: Lynn Verinsky, a professional climber, who appeared to be brimming with confidence.

Lynn Verinsky: Honestly, it's going to be perfectly safe. It will be perfectly safe.

Man: How do you know?

Lynn Verinsky: Because of liability insurance.

Narrator: With a mattress below and attached to a safety rope, Lynn began her 60-foot ascent. Lynn made it to the top in a perfect pairing of Hollywood and science.

Man: So you're the first human being to officially emulate a gecko.

Lynn Verinsky: Ha! Wow. And what a privilege that has been.

Robert Full: That's what she did on rough surfaces. But she actually used these on smooth surfaces, two of them, to climb up, and pull herself up. And you can try this in the lobby, and look at the gecko-inspired material. Now the problem with the robots doing this is that they can't get unstuck, with the material. This is the gecko's solution. They actually peel their toes away from the surface, at high rates, as they run up the wall.

Well I'm really excited today to show you the newest version of a robot, Stickybot, using a new hierarchical dry adhesive. Here is the actual robot. And here is what it does. And if you look, you can see that it uses the toe peeling, just like the gecko does. If we can show some of the video, you can see it climbing up the wall. (Applause) There it is. And now it can go on other surfaces because of the new adhesive, that the Standford group was able to do, in designing this incredible robot. (Applause)

Oh. One thing I want to point out is, look at Stickybot. You see something on it. It's not just to look like a gecko. It has a tail. And just when you think you've figured out nature, this kind of thing happens. The engineers told us, for the climbing robots, that if they don't have a tail they fall off the wall. So what they did was they asked us an important question. They said, "Well, it kind of looks like a tail." Even though we put a passive bar there. "Do animals use their tails when they climb up walls?" What they were doing was returning the favor, by giving us a hypothesis to test, in biology, that we wouldn't have thought of.

So of course, in reality, we were then panicked, being the biologists, and we should know this already. We said, "Well, what do tails do?" Well we know that tails store fat, for example. We know that you can grab onto things with them. And perhaps it is most well known that they provide static balance. (Laughter) It can also act as a counterbalance. So watch this kangaroo. See that tail? That's incredible! Marc Raibert built a Uniroo hopping robot. And it was unstable without its tail. Now mostly tails limit maneuverability. Like this human inside this dinosaur suit. (Laughter) My colleagues actually went on to test this limitation, by increasing the moment of inertia of a student, so they had a tail, and running them through and obstacle course, and found a decrement in performance. Like you'd predict. (Laughter) But of course, this is a passive tail. And you can also have active tails.

And when I went back to research this, I realized that one of the great TED moments in the past, from Nathan, we've talked about an active tail.

Video: Myhrvold thinks tail-cracking dinosaurs were interested in love, not war.

Robert Full: He talked about the tail being a whip for communication. It can also be used in defense. Pretty powerful. So we then went back and looked at the animal. And we ran it up a surface. But this time what we did is we put a slippery patch that you see in yellow there. And watch on the right, what the animal is doing with its tail when it slips. This is slowed down 10 times. So here is normal speed. And watch it now slip, and see what it does with its tail. It has an active tail that functions as a fifth leg. And it contributes to stability. If you make it slip a huge amount, this is what we discovered. This is incredible. The engineers had a really good idea.

And then of course we wondered, okay, they have an active tail, but let's picture them. They're climbing up a wall, or a tree. And they get to the top and let's say there's some leaves there. And what would happen if they climbed on the underside of that leaf, and there was some wind, or we shook it? And we did that experiment, that you see here. (Applause) And this is what we discovered. Now that's real time. You can't see anything. But there it is slowed down.

What we discovered was the worlds fastest air-righting response. For those of you who remember your physics, that's a zero-angular-momentum righting response. But it's like a cat. You know, cats falling. Cats do this. They twist their bodies. But geckos do it better. And they do it with their tail. So they do it with this active tail as they swing around. And then they always land in the sort of superman skydiving posture. Okay, now we wondered, if we were right, we should be able to test this in a physical model, in a robot.

So for TED we actually built a robot, over there, a prototype, with the tail. And we're going to attempt the first air-righting response in a tail, with a robot. If we could have the lights on it. Okay, there it goes. And show the video. There it is. And it works just like it does in the animal. So all you need is a swing of the tail to right yourself. (Applause)

Now, of course, we were normally frightened because the animal has no gliding adaptations, so we thought, "Oh that's okay. We'll put it in a vertical wind-tunnel. We'll blow the air up, we'll give it a landing target, a tree trunk, just outside the plexi-glass enclosure, and see what it does. (Laughter) So we did. And here is what it does. So the wind is coming from the bottom. This is slowed down 10 times. It does an equilibrium glide. Highly controlled. This is sort of incredible. But actually it's quite beautiful, when you take a picture of it. And it's better than that, it, just in the slide, maneuvers in mid-air. And the way it does it, is it takes its tail and it swings it one way to yaw left, and it swings its other way to yaw right. So we can maneuver this way. And then -- we had to film this several times to believe this -- It also does this. Watch this. It oscillates its tail up and down like a dolphin. It can actually swim through the air. But watch its front legs. Can you see what they are doing? What does that mean for the origin of flapping flight? Maybe it's evolved from coming down from trees, and trying to control a glide. Stay tuned for that. (Laughter)

So then we wondered, "Can they actually maneuver with this?" So there is the landing target. Could they steer towards it with these capabilities? Here it is in the wind-tunnel. And it certainly looks like it. You can see it even better from down on top. Watch the animal. Definitely moving towards the landing target. Watch the whip of its tail as it does it. Look at that. It's unbelievable.

So now we were really confused. Because there are no reports of it gliding. So we went, "Oh my god, we have to go to the field, and see if it actually does this." Completely opposite of the way you'd see it on a nature film, of course. We wondered, "Do they actually glide in nature?" Well we went to the forests of Singapore and Southeast Asia. And the next video you see is the first time we've showed this.

This is the actual video, not staged, a real research video, of animal gliding down -- there is a red trajectory line. Look at the end to see the animal. But then as it gets closer to the tree, look at the close-up. And see if you can see it land. So there it comes down. There is a gecko at the end of that trajectory line. You see it there? There? Watch it come down. Now watch up there and you can see the landing. Did you see it hit? It actually uses its tail too. Just like we saw in the lab.

So now we can continue this mutualism by suggesting that they can make an active tail. And here is the first active tail, in the robot, made by Boston Dynamics. So to conclude, I think we need to build biomutualisms, like I showed, that will increase the pace of basic discovery, in their application. To do this though, we need to redesign education in a major way, to balance depth with interdisciplinary communication. And explicitly train people how to contribute to, and benefit from other disciplines. And of course you need the organisms and the environment to do it. That is, whether you care about security, search and rescue, or health, we must preserve nature's designs, otherwise these secrets will be lost forever. And from what I heard from our new president, I'm very optimistic. Thank you. (Applause)


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