A team of researchers from Georgia Tech, led by Chen Li
, designed the device after studying the locomotion of various creatures and mathematically simulating the performance of different types of legs (varying in number, shape and length) in several distinct environments. They had an idea—to base a design on desert creatures such as zebra-tailed lizards that are able to scramble across a loose, sandy surface without slowing down. Their efforts allowed them to create this small six-legged device, which can run across a granular surface in a way uncannily reminiscent of a reptile.
The applications of this kind research are broad: This particular robot, the researchers say, could be developed into a useful search-and-rescue or scouting device, while the principles derived from the field of terradynamics could be useful in designing probes to explore other planets in the future. They could also help biologists to better understand the how life forms here on earth have evolved to move across our planet’s surface. More info in the source.