Thursday, March 21, 2013

Robot salamander crawls and swims like the real thing

New Scientist reports: [edited]

Salamandra robotica II mimics a real salamander's way of moving by using a digital neural network that is instructed to swim, crawl or walk based on the intensity of electrical signals running through its 'spinal cord' circuits.

A remote 'brain' laptop mimics the signals that a real salamander brain sends to its spinal cord, letting the robot change its speed, direction and gait by triggering a simple electronic signal.

As well as being an interesting platform for robotics, Salamandra robotica II is a useful tool for understanding the systems that vertebrates use to move, and what can go wrong. It is to be presented at Innorobo in Lyon, France, this week.

Image: Kostas Karakasiliotis, Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL

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