The illimited Lab was featured by the UW Aeronautics and Astronautics Department in an article by Amy Sprague! Read the article here.

A snippet: “A&A’s Illimited Lab looks like it’s been misplaced by the UW Biology Department. Vertebrae models of sea birds and snakes fill shelves and cover workbenches. PhD students Bart Boom and Thijs Masmeijer find their inspiration here for engineering strategies to produce stronger, more flexible and efficient structures for robotic systems. Specifically, they are looking at how bones and muscles work together to minimize the energy required for actuation.”

One of the Illimited lab’s researchers, Thijs Masmeijer, has presented his latest contribution on vibration fatigue testing to the engineers in the field of Modal Dynamics at the prestigious IMAC 2023 conference. Thijs’ novel research on vibration fatigue testing brings the aviation industry one step closer to a sustainable future by enabling the safe use of recyclable polymer composites in aviation.

The presented work is conducted in collaboration with professor Dario Di Maio from the University of Twente; the reception to this work was overwhelmingly positive. For those who missed the occasion, the full proceedings of the research can be found here.

We are excited to share the completion of Micromachines Special Issue on 3D Printed Actuators. We created this Special Issue to highlight the impact of the 3D printer in bringing together scientists, engineers, technicians, entrepreneurs, and artists to create musculoskeletal-like actuation.

Our findings show that the interactions between the rigid structures (bones) soft nonlinear materials (tendons, and muscles) in a vertebral provide a remarkable increase in elastic energy storage and release, which is key in snakes’ efficient and explosive undulation speed. Using 3D printing, we emulated a simple 2D vertebral actuation system with 68% energy efficiency, compared to 2.5–30% efficiency in current purely soft actuators.

In collaboration with Sandia National Labs and New Mexico University, we applied the information impulse function (IIF) to detect undesirable but hidden dynamic events when aerospace structures exhibit random and chaotic behaviors due to turbulent and chaotic dynamics. The IIF, developed by Angela Montoya, outperformed current detection methods such as running Variance, and local Hölder Exponent.

Engineering Aerial-aquatic Bionic Birds

Bart Boom presented at EMI 2022 concept designs for Gannet-inspired aerial-aquatic transformer robot. The objective is to engineer small transformers that can plunge into water at an incredibly high velocity (>60 mph).

A new approach for real-time tracking of precursors to damage in aerospace structures by feeling nonlinear vibrations. We can now extract hidden nonlinearities in stiffness, damping and dynamic phase to identify and sense precursors to structural deterioration.

Identifying infinitesimal disturbances in complex systems and structures. The method is capable of quantifying small disturbances, even in systems experiencing chaos. Findings and code are published in Entropy.

Located at Guggenheim Hall

The illimited LAB is now at the historic Guggenheim Hall, home to one of the first Aeronautical Engineering departments in the nation, as one of seven originally established in 1929 with the help of the Guggenheim Fund for the Advancement of Aeronautics.

Member Updates

The illimited LAB welcomed new students this quarter, including Min and Wayne, designers who are pursuing their master’s degree at the University of Washington, and Allan, a web developer pursuing his bachelor’s at UW and currently at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden through an exchange program.