Caterpillars Inspire Rapid Mode of Motion

Posted 27 Apr 2011 at 16:12 UTC (updated 27 Apr 2011 at 16:40 UTC) by John_RobotsPodcast Share This

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Researchers from Tufts University have taken inspiration from certain caterpillars to develop a rapid mode of locomotion, called ballistic rolling, for use by caterpillar-like robots. Two videos posted on YouTube show ballistic rolling in closeup and slow motion. The first shows an actual caterpillar displaying this behavior, followed by a robot mimicking it, and the second shows the robot again, in slow motion. This work is being done at Tufts Biomimetic Devices Laboratory (BDL), directed by Dr. Barry Trimmer, in conjunction with faculty from Tufts' Department of Mechanical Engineering. An NSF Science Nation video about their work is featured on BDL's In the News page, and there's also a CBC Radio interview with Dr. Trimmer on their website. A paper on the subject GoQBot: a caterpillar-inspired soft-bodied rolling robot is temporarily available for free.
(Found on Science Daily, Institute of Physics,, and Make: Online)

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