June 18, 2008

Biomimetics Uses Animal Models for Simplified Bots

Biomimetics takes creatures of nature and turns them into automatons. Boston's Northeastern University biologist Joseph Ayers claims that animals have evolved to handle their environment and we should study them to make more efficient robotics. The simpler mechanics replace complicated software and sensors.

Stanford's Dr. Mark Cutkosky's Stickybot was built on that principle when his team duplicated the hairs on geckos' feet so that they can hang on any surface.

"If you're controlling a robot with a computer program, unless you've anticipated every possible situation it's going to get into, it will eventually get into a situation where it has no escape strategy and it will be stuck. Animals never get stuck," says Dr. Ayers. "What animals do is they wiggle and squirm [until they escape]."

Yeah, that sounds logical to us, at least until some unfeeling elephant wanders by and stomps on the robotic reptile.

Via Christian Science Monitor


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Posted by Sheila Franklin at June 18, 2008 8:00 AM
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