We designed wormlike, limbless robots that navigate obstacle courses − they could be used for search and rescue one day

Scientists have been trying to build snakelike, limbless robots for decades. These robots could come in handy in search-and-rescue situations, where they could navigate collapsed buildings to find and assist survivors.

With slender, flexible bodies, limbless robots could readily move through confined and cluttered spaces such as debris fields, where walking or wheeled robots and human rescuers tend to fail.

However, even the most advanced limbless robots have not come close to moving with the agility and versatility of worms and snakes in difficult terrain. Even the tiny nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, which has a relatively simple nervous systems, can navigate through difficult physical environments.

As part of a team of roboticists and physicists, we wanted to explore this discrepancy in performance. But instead of looking to neuroscience for an answer, we turned to biomechanics.

Read the full article from The Conversation

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