Nature has inspired robotics since its earliest days. In 1739, French artist Jacques de Vaucanson gave the world the Digesting Duck, a surreal automaton that appeared to eat — and, yes, poop out — grain. In the middle of the 20th century, British neuroscientist William Grey Walter invented turtle and tortoise robots, so-named for their slow movement and shell shapes.
In modern robotics, biology is often view as a method for problem solving — to help modern robots move more naturally and better interact with their world. Nature’s inspiration has been wide ranging in recent robotics, from flying bats and swimming fish, to Big Dogs, to mollusks like squids and octopi, which have led to the creation of the important subcategory of soft robotics.
The biorobotics field has been booming in recent years, leading to some of the most innovating and interesting machines we’ve seen to date.