Lizard robot swims through sand

Lizard robot swims through sand

Postby Markus Waibel on 02 Jul 2010, 08:38


(Video Link on the New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/articlevide ... -sand.html)

In a video reminiscent of Frank Herbert's Dune novels, researchers at Georgia Tech in Atlanta have shown a robot that can swim through sand.

Like the salamander robot you may remember from previous interviews with Auke Ijspeert (including an earlier Talking Robots interview), this robot's morphology and locomotion pattern are modeled after that of a real lizard. However, while previous research for movement in water or air could rely on detailed dynamic models, no such models exist for sand which can behave as both, a solid and a fluid.

The current prototype of the robot uses an oscillation pattern gleaned from the real lizard to efficiently move through a container filled with plastic spheres 6 millimetres across. The researchers are now refining their robot by adding more jointed segments to allow for a smoother body movement. Eventually, lizard like robots could help find people trapped in the loose debris resulting from an earthquake.
Markus Waibel
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