Posts Tagged soft-bodied robots

The Very Robotic Caterpillar

Tufts Professor Barry Trimmer, Ph.D., is known for his neurobiology work with tobacco hornworm caterpillars. Trimmer is intensely interested in replicating the movements of caterpillars in order to  create soft-body robots.  In his interview with Science Nation, Trimmer explains the value in learning “how the nervous system and the body create those complex movements [made by caterpillars].”
Watch this intriguing explanation of Trimmer’s work below:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

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GoQBots Spring Into Action

A new study in the Institute of Physics journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics by Tufts doctoral student Huai-Ti Lin and researchers Gary Leisk and Barry Trimmer details the creation of the GoQBot, a soft-bodied robot inspired by a natural defense mechanism found in some caterpillars called “ballistic rolling.” According to a press release by the Institute of Physics, ballistic rolling is “one of the fastest wheeling behaviours in nature”

The below video shows both a caterpillar engaging in ballistic rolling and the GoQBot in action:

The science blog PopSci featured the GoQBot, the latest product of the ongoing biomimetic research at Tufts.

“GoQBot demonstrates a solution by reconfiguring its body and could therefore enhance several robotic applications such as urban rescue, building inspection, and environmental monitoring,” Lin was quoted as saying in the press release. “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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