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Dr. Madhusudhan Venkadesan (Yale University)
Dr. Madhusudhan Venkadesan (Yale University)

Dr. Madhusudhan Venkadesan (Yale University)

Mechanics of feet and fins

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Time & Location

31 Mar 2021, 10:00 am AEDT

Theory of Living Systems Webinar

About the Event


The stiffness of propulsive appendages, such as feet or fins, is important for locomotor function. In this talk, I show that curvature-induced stiffness is the common principle underlying the stiffness of both primate feet and rayed fish fins. We use mathematical models, physical mimics, and biological experiments to derive the relationship between curvature and stiffness, and also track the evolution of foot curvature among hominins. The principle is evident in a drooping currency note that significantly stiffens upon slightly curling it in the transverse direction.

About the speaker

Madhusudhan Venkadesan studies the mechanics and control of how animals move. Problems being pursued include locomotion in animals, the geometry of joints, the topology of shape-changing skins, and the rheology of muscle. Motivations and applications for his work include biomedical sciences, evolutionary biology, robotics, and plain curiosity about everyday observations.


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