Energy Flow

A hallmark of latch-mediated spring actuation (LaMSA) is impressively high mechanical power density achieved through spring-driven, unidirectional flow of energy. Stored elastic energy is rapidly transformed to the kinetic energy of a load mass or projectile, resulting in spectacular performance seen in both biological and engineered systems. LaMSA is defined by four fundamental components, motors, springs, latches, and load mass, and we have identified unique phases of LaMSA motion resulting from the transformation of energy between these components. Importantly, energy moving through a LaMSA mechanism can be lost from one phase to the next. Therefore, LaMSA function and performance is defined not just by the final delivery of energy to a load mass or projectile, but also by the efficiency of the energetic transformations that occur from one phase and one component to the next. This fundamental feature emphasizes the importance of real-world, tunable components for the design, control, and ultimately, function of LaMSA systems.

Relevant Publications