Institute of Information Theory and Automation

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A mathematical perspective on the quasi-static approximation in bio-inspired locomotion models

2021-12-13 13:30

The quasi-static limit is a classical approximation in the modelling of several mechanical phenomena, in which, intuitively, the system evolves so slowly that it is assumed to be at equilibrium at all times. A well-studied abstract family of quasi-static evolutions is that of rate-independent systems, with applications, for instance, to the slow-load deformation of an elastoplastic material. The aim of the seminar is to illustrate how such an approximation can be effective also in the study of certain biological and robotic locomotion strategies, and to justify it not only by a physical, but also by an analytical point of view. In the first part of the talk, we will survey some basic models of swimming, walking and crawling, and discuss the relevance, or the lack thereof, of inertial effects. In the second part we will focus on a class of models of crawlers and provide a mathematically rigorous derivation of the (quasi-static) rate-independent evolution as a slow-actuation limit. To conclude, we will make a brief comparison with other rate-independent mechanical models and discuss some open issues.


Hybrid form

Please note that the seminar will be hosted in a hybrid form. I.e. you can also join us also virtually at

2021-11-29 10:40