Insect limbs can move without muscles, a finding that may give engineers ways to improve the control of robotic and prosthetic limbs, British researchers say.
Lead researcher Dr.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, found the structure of some insect leg joints causes the legs to move even in the absence of muscles. These so-called "passive joint forces" serve to return the limb back towards a preferred resting position.
The passive movements differ in limbs that have different behavioral roles and different musculature, suggesting the joint structures are specifically adapted to complement muscle forces.
The researchers propose a motor control scheme for insect limb joints in which not all movements are driven by muscles.
"It is well known that some animals store energy in elastic muscle tendons and other structures. Such energy storage permits forces to be applied explosively to generate movements that are much more rapid than those which may be generated by muscle contractions alone," Matheson said in a statement "This is, for example, crucial when grasshoppers or fleas jump."
Most Popular Stories
- Twitter Names Woman to Board
- Obamacare Doing Just Fine, Ky. Governor Says
- Rand Paul Signs up for Obamacare
- Thalia Gets Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
- How to Arm Yourself Against CryptoLocker Virus
- Hispanic Employment Improves in November
- World Cup Draws: Coaches, Players Offer Insights
- Trapped Florida Whales Head for Deeper Waters
- Aspen Contracting Adding 300 Jobs
- Dow Jumps 200 Points on Jobs Data