Swiss salamander robot walks and swims like amphibian




He can walk, crawl and swim like a salamander, but his bones are printed using a 3D printer and, more importantly, he does not live. Researchers at the institute in Lausanne have manufactured a robot salamander. The target? Insight into the movements of the vertebrate amphibian.

The catchy name Pleurobot he owes the kind where he is based: the Pleurodeles waltl, or the Gallipato. The scientists laid the movement of a living specimen with fixed X-ray images, in order to gain an understanding of operation of the skeleton when advancing. On this basis they made a robot skeleton, which they have then printed with a 3D printer. The skeleton formed the basis of the robot salamander.

The robot has 27 motors and the spine has eleven segments, a lot less than a real salamander, which has forty vertebrae with multiple connections. Nevertheless Pleurobot can faithfully mimic the movement of the images. Just as people and salamanders should make more effort to increase speed when moving, which also applies to the robot. At low electrical stimulation of the spinal canal, the robot walks slowly but the speed increases as the stimulation is increased. the maximal stimulation is required for swimming.

The movement of animals is a complex process, says Kostas Karakasilliotis, who developed the first version of Pleurobot. “Modern tools as cineradiographic, 3D printing and fast computers help to understand it better and to be able to reproduce.”

The Swiss researchers from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne publish their findings in the scientific journal Interface. They hope the research can contribute to the development of future advanced biorobots.


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