Articles by Megan C. Leftwich in JoVE
A Robotic Platform to Study the Foreflipper of the California Sea Lion Aditya A. Kulkarni1, Rahi K. Patel1, Chen Friedman1, Megan C. Leftwich1 1Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The George Washington University A robotic platform is described that will be used to study the hydrodynamic performance—forces and flowfields—of the swimming California sea lion. The robot is a model of the animal's foreflipper that is actuated by motors to replicate the motion of its propulsive stroke (the 'clap').
Other articles by Megan C. Leftwich on PubMed
Wake Structures Behind a Swimming Robotic Lamprey with a Passively Flexible Tail The Journal of Experimental Biology. Feb, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22246250 A robotic lamprey, based on the silver lamprey, Ichthyomyzon unicuspis, was used to investigate the influence of passive tail flexibility on the wake structure and thrust production during anguilliform swimming. A programmable microcomputer actuated 11 servomotors that produce a traveling wave along the length of the lamprey body. The waveform was based on kinematic studies of living lamprey, and the shape of the tail was taken from a computer tomography scan of the silver lamprey. The tail was constructed of flexible PVC gel, and nylon inserts were used to change its degree of flexibility. Particle image velocimetry measurements using three different levels of passive flexibility show that the large-scale structure of the wake is dominated by the formation of two pairs of vortices per shedding cycle, as seen in the case of a tail that flexed actively according to a pre-defined kinematic pattern, and did not bend in response to fluid forces. When the tail is passively flexible, however, the large structures are composed of a number of smaller vortices, and the wake loses coherence as the degree of flexibility increases. Momentum balance calculations indicate that, at a given tailbeat frequency, increasing the tail flexibility yields less net force, but changing the cycle frequency to match the resonant frequency of the tail increases the force production.
An Experimental Approach to a Simplified Model of Human Birth Journal of Biomechanics. Jul, 2016 | Pubmed ID: 26684434 This study presents a simplified experimental model of labor for the study of fetal lie and amniotic fluid properties. It mimics a ventouse (vacuum extraction) delivery to study the effect of amniotic fluid properties on force transfer to a passive fetus. The simplified vacuum delivery consists of a solid ovate spheroid being pulled from a passive, flexible spherical elastic shell filled with fluid. We compare the force necessary to remove the ovate fetus in fluids of varying properties. Additionally, the fetal lie-angular deviation from maternal/fetal spinal alignment-is changed by 5° intervals and the pullout force is measured. In both the concentric ovate experiments, the force to remove the fetus changes with the properties of the fluid occupying the space between the fetus and the uterus. Increasing the fluid viscosity by 35% decreases the maximum fetal removal force by up to 52.5%. Furthermore, while the force is dominated by the elastic force of the latex uterus, the properties of the amniotic fluid can significantly decrease the total removal force. This study demonstrates that the fluid components of a birth model can significantly alter the forces associated with fetus removal. This suggests that complete studies of human parturition should be designed to include both the material and fluid systems.