Biomimetic robot, or bio-robots, are those that mimic the movements of natural creatures of particular interest scientists is how animal bone and limb structures translate to unique locomotion-crawling, slithering, swimming, scaling walls and even flapping wings. Such robots have the potential to assist humans in a variety of ways. They could creep into tight spaces to inspect damaged facilities, squirm into tiny crevices to search for trapped survivors, or provide aerial surveillance to government organizations tracking poachers. Here are some of the ones that already exist.
Created by Stanford Mechanical Engineer Mark Cutkosky, stickybot can climb smooth surfaces with feet patterned after the intricate design of a gecko’s toes. The robot utilizes dry adhesion, a technique the gecko uses in nature. One-way adhesive on the robot’s feet allows it to attach and detach each foot with a little effort.
From the makers of stickybot, the standard Climbing and Aerial maneuvering Platform is hybrid drone that can not only climb walls, but also perch and fly. Microspines like those on a praying mantis, were added its feet so SCAMP can take longer, more precise steps.
Germany’s Biomimetics-innovation-Centre build a Micro Air Vehicle with a flapping wing design that allows it to fly, hover, and glide at low speeds inspired by the swift, which is known for its flying agility and gliding prowess, the MAV can even deftly maneuver in confined spaces.
4. Uncle Sam
Developed by Carnegie Mellon’s Biorobotics Lab, Uncle Sam can roll, wiggle, side-wind, wrap itself around a pole, and climb vertically. The modular design, built from segment of sensors and actuators, could enable uncle Sam to self-assemble, self-repair, and scale to much larger sizes one day.
5. Shoal Project
The EU-funded Shoal Consortium project came up with a 1.5-metre long robotic fish capable of monitoring pollution in real time. It can collect data on Oxygen levels and salinity, and detect a variety of harmful chemicals and heavy metals. It’s moving tail fin allow it to swim like a fish, eliminating the need for problematic propellers.
UC Berkeley scientists have developed the Compressible Robot with Articulated mechanisms, a palm-sized bot that can splay its legs outward when crushed, and squeeze into crevices half its height. Its exoskeleton keeps it protected, while body-friction leg crawling keeps it moving. Cram could be used in search and rescue missions.
The Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia built U-CAT for maritime archaeology. Current robots are expensive and large, with control cables that can get tangled in underwater archaeological sites. The U-CAT is completely autonomous, and has four independently-driven silicon flippers, allowing for quick directional changes.
The Rhex project, initially funded by DARPA and a handful of other private Institutions, involved the participation of half a dozen universities. The group came up with autonomous hexapod (six-legged) robot design that can climb stairs, scale 45° slopes, and even swim.
9. Bionic Ant
German firm Festo has developed micro machines inspired by the common ant. Their thoughtful anatomy allows them to work together as a team, much like the ants do in nature. If one can’t carry an object, it messages others to help it with the load, an example of adaptive and collective programmed behavior.
10. Salamandra Robotica
Salamandra Robotica is an amphibious robot created by the Biorobotics Laboratory in Lausanne. It is able to swim, crawl, and walk just like the creature that inspired it. Combining robotics, evolution, and neurobiology, Salamandra can change speed, direction, and locomotion at will, providing researchers a valuable tool for understanding locomotion systems and their associated pathologies