Zoobotics: Introducing Pleurobot
EPFL developed a salamander-like robot called Pleurobot, that not only looks like an animal designed by Neil Gaiman. It actually behaves like an animal (talking features excluded). The motion is based on 3D x-ray movies of a real salamander walking and swimming.
Contrary to our previous bio-inspired approaches, in this new approach we make use of the recent advances in cineradiography to benefit from the advantages that a biomimetic design can offer. We recorded three-dimensional X-ray videos of salamanders, Pleurodeles waltl, walking on ground, walking underwater and swimming. Tracking up to 64 points on the animal’s skeleton we were able to record three-dimensional movements of bones in great detail. Using optimization on all the recorded postures for the three gaits we deduced the number and position of active and passive joints needed for the robot to reproduce the animal movements in reasonable accuracy in three-dimensions.
Whats next? Pleurobot could be part of near future search-and-rescue applications and "In the future, we plan to use Pleurobot’s design methodology to bring early tetrapods to ‘life’." Dinosaurs FTW.
[read more] [via IEEE] [picture credits: Konstantinos Karakasiliotis & Robin Thandiackal, BioRob, EPFL, 2013]