Researchers have designed a new type of robot modeled on sea turtles known as FlipperBot. This is the first robot to use flippers against pliable surfaces and has moved the work toward amphibious robots forward.
Georgia Tech/ Gary Meek
Flippered robots inspired by sea-turtle hatchlings could shed light on how the ancestors of terrestrial animals first evolved to crawl on land, researchers say.
Such research could also lead to amphibious robots that can tackle both land and sea, investigators added.
Scientists are designing robots that can go where humans cannot or should not go, and often rely on inspiration from nature to do so. For instance, snakelike robots could, in principle, slither into crevices to help find disaster victims.
Challenging environments for robots to cross include sand, gravel, soil, mud and other unstable granular surfaces that can deform around legs in complex ways. To learn new ways to navigate such ground, Daniel Goldman, a physicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and his colleagues investigated sea-turtle hatchlings.
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