biology inspired design

Will Ant Necks Give Robots Super Strength?

by Txchnologist staff

The next step toward robots with superhuman strength might come thanks to the tiny ants marching around at your feet. Engineers think the insects’ necks–made of soft, flexible tissue that can support huge weight–could hold important clues to advanced design.

Researchers at The Ohio State University wanted to know how this single joint is built to withstand the full load capacity, so they started looking at its mechanics, structural design and material composition.

“Ants… can lift and carry heavy loads relative to their body mass. Loads are lifted with the mouthparts, transferred through the neck joint to the thorax, and distributed over six legs and tarsi (feet) that anchor to the supporting surface,” the authors write in a paper published recently in the Journal of Biomechanics. “While previous research has explored attachment mechanisms of the tarsi, little is known about the relation between the mechanical function and the structural design and material properties of the ant.”

Find out more and see pictures below.

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