Video: Robot Mimics Snail Style For Omnidirectional Movement

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Biomimetic robots are nothing new (snakebot, ro-bat, shark-tail wave harvester), but as there is a great variety of animals to mimic, there’s no shortage of interesting takes on the idea. This one, from Chuo University’s Biomechatronics Lab (how I would love to work at a place with a name like that), uses the movement principle favored by the common snail. They call it “galloping,” but I don’t think that’s accurate, as far as the idiom goes.

What they mean when they say galloping is moving the front part of the body up first, establishing traction there, and then using that as an anchor to pull the rest of the body forwards. I suppose that, when you think about it, that’s actually what horses do too. Anyway, this thing moves slowly but very surely, because at every stage in its movement, it has lots of contact with the surface and tons of grip.

This high level of stability and ease of movement means variants of this could be used in factories and hospitals, where safety and stability are a priority, and speed is just something the night crew takes to stay awake. Too much?

[via IEEE Spectrum and Treehugger]