Say hello to a spider from the genus Cebrennus:
Some individual species of this spider have developed a curious way of navigating the harsh terrain of the Moroccan desert by cartwheeling rapidly over the sand, like small but tireless Olympians:
Let's see that in slow motion, please:
These crazy cartwheeling spiders present us with a non-obvious but effective means for robots to navigate harsh terrain, and a scientist in Germany has built one that moves like this spider.
As robots are generally dumb, clumsy things, scientists love to give them advantages wherever they can, and this is especially true when it comes to how they get from place to place. It's a huge part of robotics; MIT's CSAIL Center for Robotic Locomotion, for example, exists solely for coming up with new ways to help robots get from A to B.
Via Evan Ackerman at Spectrum IEEE, we learn that Professor Ingo Rechenberg of the Technical University of Berlin has developed "Tabbot," a bot that borrows its locomotion from this gymnastic Moroccan spider. Here's what Tabbot looks like as it cruises sand dunes that would be impassible for most robots:
Uphill in the sand? No worries:
We've previously spoken to Professor Sarah Bergbreiter of the University of Maryland, who specializes in building micro-robots smaller than pennies. She has an eye toward designing robots capable of navigating rough terrain, and told us that roboticists borrow ideas from nature all the time: "Biology lets us look at solutions that exist in the natural world. We’re inspired by them[...]," she said.
Let's see the spider robot again, but in bullet-time, please:
The full video demonstration embedded below:
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