Thursday, November 10, 2005

Robot Moves Like an Amoeba

By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News

Nov. 9, 2005 — The motion employed by singled-celled organisms for millions of years is now being put to use in robots.

The "whole-skin locomotion," developed by Dennis Hong, a professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Mark Ingram, his graduate student, draws its inspiration from the amoeba.

Instead of using wheels or legs to move, the method turns the entire outer surface of a robot into the traction that propels it forward.

The robot's pliable body can squeeze between obstacles, through holes, traverse uneven surfaces and maneuver into tight places, making it ideal for exploring everything from a digestive tract to a disaster zone.

"Since the entire skin is used for locomotion, the robot can move as long as any surface of the robot is in contact with the environment," said Hong.

Discovery : News : Article : Robot Moves Like an Amoeba


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