What Can Woodpeckers Teach Engineers? - Bold Business

The superfast speed of a woodpecker’s peck has inspired scientists to come up with an innovative new anti-vibration system. A bio-inspired, nonlinear anti-vibration system has been created by Dr Jing Xing-jian and his team from at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

The key to the scientists’ success was to somehow combine the passive and active vibration elements.

According to reports, the fact that woodpeckers drill their way through wood at dramatic speeds while still maintaining a sense of body composure has helped experts come up with the groundbreaking new technology.

According to QS wownews, woodpeckers’ ability to absorb shock has inspired researchers to apply a similar science to the mechanical vibrations felt by workers using drills or other equipment to minimize the damage.

“In the construction industry, the long-term mechanical vibration experienced by workers operating mechanical systems may cause discomfort, fatigue, injuries and even occupational disabilities. As such, anti-vibration measures are important for the health protection of construction workers.

“This is the reason behind the invention of a bio-inspired nonlinear anti-vibration system by Dr Jing Xing-jian and his team from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU),” the website states.

Reducing Vibration Improves Health and Safety

The system has been proven to dramatically reduce mechanical vibration, “providing more reliable performance and better cost-efficiency than any existing technology in this aspect.”

The innovative new system is quite literally, excuse the pun, sending shockwaves through the tech industry. The invention recently won a prize at the TechConnect Global Innovation Awards 2017 and has received praise from the science and technology field worldwide.

Now for the science part. Scientists found that “passive vibration control systems isolate or mitigate vibration through equipment such as rubber pads, shock absorbers and mechanical springs. In contrast, active vibration control systems apply equal force or energy in opposition to the vibration force.”anti-vibration spring

The key to the scientists’ success was to somehow combine the passive and active vibration elements. Following research into a woodpecker’s ability to absorb vibrations, the team devised an X-shaped anti-vibration structure that combines the benefits of both passive and active systems.

“It demonstrates nearly zero response to any vibration, providing quasi-zero low dynamic stiffness while maintaining high loading capacity. The unique nonlinearity of the system design also allows it to automatically provide high damping for strong vibration and low damping for small vibration.”

Researchers were then able to apply this science to tools used in the construction industry, by creating an assistive anti-vibration exoskeleton for handheld jackhammers. The device can absorb the vibrations given off by the machine providing a safe and harmless device for the worker.

This bold idea is now set to be rolled out across the construction industry across America. Not only will it ensure work is completed in a timely fashion, but most importantly will ensure the worker is protected so they can go about their business in a safe manner.

Link: http://www.qswownews.com/2017/08/14/woodpeckers-limbs-inspire-polyu-researchers-invent-anti-vibration-system/

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