Solution-driven bioinspired design: Themes of latch-mediated spring-actuated systems

Teagan Mathur, Luis Viornery, Ophelia Bolmin, Sarah Bergbreiter, Aimy Wissa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Our ability to measure and image biology at small scales has been transformative for developing a new generation of insect-scale robots. Because of their presence in almost all environments known to humans, insects have inspired many small-scale flying, swimming, crawling, and jumping robots. This inspiration has affected all aspects of the robots’ design, ranging from gait specification, materials properties, and mechanism design to sensing, actuation, control, and collective behavior schemes. This article highlights how insects have inspired a new class of small and ultrafast robots and mechanisms. These new robots can circumvent motors’ force-velocity tradeoffs and achieve high-acceleration jumping, launching, and striking through latch-mediated spring-actuated (LaMSA) movement strategies. In the article, we apply a solution-driven bioinspired design framework to highlight the process for developing LaMSA-inspired robots and systems, starting with understanding the key biological themes, abstracting them to solution-neutral principles, and implementing such principles into engineered systems. Throughout the article, we emphasize the roles of modeling, fabrication, materials, and integration in developing bioinspired LaMSA systems and identify critical future enablers such as integrative design approaches. Graphical abstract: (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • Biomimetic
  • Robotics


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