Scientists from Australia’s Sunshine Coast University have created a robot inspired by lizards. Reptiles have optimized rough terrain over the years.
The X-4 climbing robot, which moves like a reptile, is bringing engineers closer to the next generation of robotics for disaster relief, remote surveillance, and perhaps even space exploration.
Lead author Johanna Schultz stated that after four years of studying lizard movement and building several generations of robot designs (X-4 is just the latest version), the team concluded that the lizards have improved their way of locomotion, optimizing their movement over difficult terrain over the years. evolution
“The best configuration for the climbing robot turned out to be exactly the one used by the lizards. After evolving, they found the optimal gait for climbing, ”explains Schultz.
The key finding was that the lizard’s front legs rotate 20 degrees and the hind legs rotate 100 degrees, despite the expectation that their direction-dependent glue mechanism (their claws or the gecko’s sticky pads) will align with the direction of travel up the tree trunks. Scientists used this discovery and created a prototype robo-lizard, which was taught to crawl like a real reptile.
The study of the mechanisms of movement of reptiles will contribute to the optimization of robotics. Often, engineers focus on improving AI-based perception of the environment and autonomy, rather than the movement and structure of machines.
“By understanding which parameters affect the movement of the animal, it is possible to determine how the robot should look and move depending on the requirements and tasks. Does he need to be super fast, super stable or something in between, ”concludes Schultz.
Lizard-like robots have the potential for search and rescue operations and remote inspections.