*Peristalsis*, i.e., a motion pattern arising from the propagation of muscle contraction and expansion waves along the body, is a common locomotion strategy for limbless animals. Mimicking peristalsis in bio-inspired robots has attracted considerable attention in the literature. It has recently been observed that maximal velocity in a metameric earthworm-like robot is achieved by actuating the segments using a “phase coordination” principle. This paper shows that, in fact, peristalsis (which requires not only phase coordination, but also that all segments oscillate at same frequency and amplitude) emerges from optimization principles. More precisely, basing our analysis on the assumption of small deformations, we show that peristaltic waves provide the optimal actuation solution in the ideal case of a periodic infinite system, and that this is approximately true, modulo edge effects, for the real, finite length system. Therefore, this paper confirms the effectiveness of mimicking peristalsis in bio-inspired robots, at least in the small-deformation regime. Further research will be required to test the effectiveness of this strategy if large deformations are allowed.

We discuss connections between low-Reynolds-number swimming and geometric control theory, and present a general algorithm for the numerical computation of energetically optimal strokes. As an illustration of our approach, we show computed motility maps and optimal strokes for two model swimmers.

%B Natural locomotion in fluids and on surfaces : swimming, flying, and sliding / editors Stephen Childress, Anette Hosoi, William W. Schultz, and Z. Jane Wang, editors, %I Springer %@ 9781461439967 %G en %U http://hdl.handle.net/1963/6445 %1 6381 %2 Mathematics %4 1 %# MAT/08 ANALISI NUMERICA %$ Submitted by Luca Heltai (heltai@sissa.it) on 2013-02-01T17:33:50Z\\nNo. of bitstreams: 0 %R 10.1007/978-1-4614-3997-4_13 %0 Journal Article %J Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences 21 (2011) 361-387 %D 2011 %T Numerical Strategies for Stroke Optimization of Axisymmetric Microswimmers %A François Alouges %A Antonio DeSimone %A Luca Heltai %K Optimal swimming %X We propose a computational method to solve optimal swimming problems, based on the boundary integral formulation of the hydrodynamic interaction between swimmer and surrounding fluid and direct constrained minimization of the energy consumed by the swimmer. We apply our method to axisymmetric model examples. We consider a classical model swimmer (the three-sphere swimmer of Golestanian et al.) as well as a novel axisymmetric swimmer inspired by the observation of biological micro-organisms. %B Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences 21 (2011) 361-387 %I World Scientific %G en_US %U http://hdl.handle.net/1963/3657 %1 648 %2 Mathematics %3 Functional Analysis and Applications %$ Submitted by Andrea Wehrenfennig (andreaw@sissa.it) on 2009-06-23T17:30:51Z\\r\\nNo. of bitstreams: 1\\r\\nSissa33_2009M.pdf: 708341 bytes, checksum: 6134bd52f083488620fb5bb24bcf9b93 (MD5) %R 10.1142/S0218202511005088 %0 Report %D 2010 %T Optimally swimming Stokesian Robots %A François Alouges %A Antonio DeSimone %A Luca Heltai %A Aline Lefebvre %A Benoit Merlet %X We study self propelled stokesian robots composed of assemblies of balls, in dimen-\\nsions 2 and 3, and prove that they are able to control their position and orientation. This is a result of controllability, and its proof relies on applying Chow\\\'s theorem in an analytic framework, similarly to what has been done in [3] for an axisymmetric system swimming along the axis of symmetry. However, we simplify drastically\\nthe analyticity result given in [3] and apply it to a situation where more complex swimmers move either in a plane or in three-dimensional space, hence experiencing also rotations. We then focus our attention on energetically optimal strokes, which we are able to compute numerically. Some examples of computed optimal strokes are discussed in detail. %G en_US %U http://hdl.handle.net/1963/3929 %1 472 %2 Mathematics %3 Functional Analysis and Applications %$ Submitted by Andrea Wehrenfennig (andreaw@sissa.it) on 2010-07-29T11:02:56Z\\nNo. of bitstreams: 1\\nHeltai_54M_2010.pdf: 993075 bytes, checksum: 77225380bab031438ac940e694ea0e6c (MD5) %0 Book Section %B Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science / Robert A. Meyers (ed.). - Springer, 2009, 548-554 %D 2009 %T Biological Fluid Dynamics, Non-linear Partial Differential Equations %A Antonio DeSimone %A François Alouges %A Aline Lefebvre %B Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science / Robert A. Meyers (ed.). - Springer, 2009, 548-554 %G en_US %U http://hdl.handle.net/1963/2630 %1 1493 %2 Mathematics %3 Functional Analysis and Applications %$ Submitted by Andrea Wehrenfennig (andreaw@sissa.it) on 2008-04-16T08:35:02Z\\nNo. of bitstreams: 1\\nEncyclopedia_SISSA_Preprint.pdf: 157119 bytes, checksum: 6db74c2f0a9ba80b7b1e5375bd550c0c (MD5) %0 Journal Article %J J. Nonlinear Sci. 18 (2008) 277-302 %D 2008 %T Optimal Strokes for Low Reynolds Number Swimmers: An Example %A François Alouges %A Antonio DeSimone %A Aline Lefebvre %X Swimming, i.e., being able to advance in the absence of external forces by performing cyclic shape changes, is particularly demanding at low Reynolds numbers. This is the regime of interest for micro-organisms and micro- or nano-robots. We focus in this paper on a simple yet representative example: the three-sphere swimmer of Najafi and Golestanian (Phys. Rev. E, 69, 062901-062904, 2004). For this system, we show how to cast the problem of swimming in the language of control theory, prove global controllability (which implies that the three-sphere swimmer can indeed swim), and propose a numerical algorithm to compute optimal strokes (which turn out to be suitably defined sub-Riemannian geodesics). %B J. Nonlinear Sci. 18 (2008) 277-302 %I Springer %G en_US %U http://hdl.handle.net/1963/4006 %1 396 %2 Mathematics %3 Functional Analysis and Applications %$ Submitted by Andrea Wehrenfennig (andreaw@sissa.it) on 2010-08-26T10:49:24Z\\nNo. of bitstreams: 1\\nADL2008a.pdf: 273047 bytes, checksum: 36ba2c2914fff62c05124f1ac1453733 (MD5) %R 10.1007/s00332-007-9013-7 %0 Journal Article %J M2AN Math. Model. Numer. Anal. 38 (2004) 235-248 %D 2004 %T Energetics and switching of quasi-uniform states in small ferromagnetic particles %A François Alouges %A Sergio Conti %A Antonio DeSimone %A Ivo Pokern %X We present a numerical algorithm to solve the micromagnetic equations based on tangential-plane minimization for the magnetization update and a homothethic-layer decomposition of outer space for the computation of the demagnetization field. As a first application, detailed results on the flower-vortex transition in the cube of Micromagnetic Standard Problem number 3 are obtained, which confirm, with a different method, those already present in the literature, and validate our method and code. We then turn to switching of small cubic or almost-cubic particles, in the single-domain limit. Our data show systematic deviations from the Stoner-Wohlfarth model due to the non-ellipsoidal shape of the particle, and in particular a non-monotone dependence on the particle size. %B M2AN Math. Model. Numer. Anal. 38 (2004) 235-248 %I EDP Sciences %G en_US %U http://hdl.handle.net/1963/2999 %1 1334 %2 Mathematics %3 Functional Analysis and Applications %$ Submitted by Andrea Wehrenfennig (andreaw@sissa.it) on 2008-10-01T10:25:50Z\\nNo. of bitstreams: 1\\npreprint2003_88.pdf: 297354 bytes, checksum: d907d5a9d74d0a3dcb244e26ff2af68a (MD5) %R 10.1051/m2an:2004011