Skip to comments.Lizards Will Teach Robots to Swim Through Sand
Posted on 03/21/2013 2:44:27 PM PDT by BenLurkin
As Curiosity cruises around the surface of Mars, it must be careful. Although the Mars Science Laboratory rover is larger and tougher than previous rovers, its drivers still want to be sure they don't get the bot's wheels stuck in a deep sand dune. Imagine, though, if humans put a robot on -another planet that didn't drive on wheels but instead walked on legs, allowing it to step over and out of obstacles.
The tiny 5-inch bot that scientists in Daniel Goldman's lab at Georgia Tech are experimenting with could help lead the way to those kinds of machines. In the journal Science today, Goldman and grad students Chen Li and Tingnan Zhang published their model of how legged animals like lizards move through granular materialsstuff such as sand that comes in loose small particles and can behave like a solid or a liquid. It's a model that could tell robot-builders how certain sizes and shapes of legs will move through shifting materials. "We've now provided our engineering collaborators with tools to aid in design that they didn't have before," he says. And it turns out that ideas developed starting in the 1930s and '40s do an awfully good job of predicting an animal's, or a robot's, performance in sand.
"There is an entire world of animal locomotion
that had been more or less unstudied: That is, movement of animals on and within terrestrial materials like sand, which can flow and resolidify around the animal's feet or bodies. We know precious little, and I say that relative to how much we know about how fish swim or birds fly," Goldman says. Although a physicist by training, he tells PM, he took a research side trip into the world of biomechanics.
(Excerpt) Read more at popularmechanics.com ...
This could be the precursor to Robotosaurus.
“How much are y’all gonna pay these lizard teachers?” - NEA union representative.