In the recent past the design of many aquatic robots has been inspired by the motion of fish. Actuated internal rotors or moving masses have been frequently used either for propulsion and or the control of such robots. However the effect of internal passive degrees of freedom or passive appendages on the motion of such robots is poorly understood. In this paper we present a minimal model that demonstrates the influence of passive degrees of freedom on an aquatic robot. The model is of a circular cylinder with a passive internal rotor, immersed in an inviscid fluid interacting with point vortices. We show through numerics that the motion of the cylinder containing a passive degree of freedom is significantly different than one without. These results show that the mechanical feedback via passive degrees of freedom could be a useful way to control the motion of aquatic robots.

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