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… or possibly a fish?
So, I’m all for experimenting with novel locomotion for robots, and often it does seem that nature provides interesting templates to help designers with this type of problem. Interestingly the inspiration for this robot is not a snake, but rather the sandfish lizard, although it is the way that the lizard tucks its legs in to “swim” through sand using snake-like undulations that caught the attention of the designers.
However, I am rather worried about the idea that this robot could be used to “help find people trapped in the loose debris resulting from an earthquake”. In the main I’m wondering how this robot might be expected to communicate in order to alleviate the panic it might cause in any survivors it found. Would it help if it was talking or even singing a song as it wriggled towards you? I’m not sure, but it might be better than it appearing silently alongside your trapped body.
Here is the video from New Scientist report:
So, I have been given an excuse to source some photos of Fiddler Crabs, just because some students were surprised that the claws of Navi Robo were a different colour from the rest of its body. Of course, these crabs are using their claws to send very different messages from the robot, but it is nonetheless of great importance that they attract attention, hence the large size and sometimes very bright colour of their signaling claw.
There, that’s enough wildlife for now, back to robots next time.