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Caterpillars inspire new movements in soft robots
Date:4/26/2011

such coordination is mediated by the nonlinear muscle coupling in the animals.

The researchers were also able to explain why caterpillars don't use the ballistic roll more often as a default mode of transport; despite its impressive performance, ballistic rolling is only effective on smooth surfaces, demands a large amount of power, and often ends unpredictably.

Not only did the study provide an insight into the fascinating escape system of a caterpillar, it also put forward a new locomotor strategy which could be used in future robot development.

Many modern robots are modelled after snakes, worms and caterpillars for their talents in crawling and climbing into difficult spaces. However, the limbless bodies severely reduce the speeds of the robots in the opening. On the other hand, there are many robots that employ a rolling motion in order to travel with speed and efficiency, but they struggle to gain access to difficult spaces.

Lead author Huai-Ti Lin from the Department of Biology, Tufts University, said: "GoQBot demonstrates a solution by reconfiguring its body and could therefore enhance several robotic applications such as urban rescue, building inspection, and environmental monitoring."

"Due to the increased speed and range, limbless crawling robots with ballistic rolling capability could be deployed more generally at a disaster site such as a tsunami aftermath. The robot can wheel to a debris field and wiggle into the danger for us."


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Contact: Joe Winters
joseph.winters@iop.org
44-794-632-1473
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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