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Lizard robot that thinks it’s a snake…

… 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:


  1. Perhaps if it assured victims, in an appropriately high-pitched voice, “I bring you love… I bring you peace…”?

    • As long as the voice wasn’t sibilant, that would be really bad wouldn’t it?! 🙂 Also I’m a bit worried about what you had the snake saying, sounds a little too much like it might deal the death blow and put you out of your misery to me… maybe “don’t panic, help is on its way” would be better?

  2. Actually, the Muppet show theme would be even better. You can’t help but be cheered up by it. 🙂

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