Science often receives inspiration from nature, and here we are again with yet another piece of technology that will feature an inspired bit from snakes and their movement. These reptiles normally travel by bending their bodies in an S-pattern that we are all familiar with, but whenever they stalk their prey, snakes are able to move in a straight line by expanding and contracting their bodies. This particular “rectilinear gait” might be slow, but it is also quiet and could prove to be rather difficult to detect, making it the ideal ambush move.
Roboticists have decided to represent such “limbless locomotion” is a highly effective method, so that a robot can move through cluttered and confined spaces. Thanks to University of Maryland Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student James Hopkins, he has come up with a robot known as “R2G2” (Robot with Rectilinear Gait for Ground operations), with a dramatically exaggerated gait so that its speed will increase.
Hopkins shared, “Our current R2G2 model has a maximum forward velocity of one mile per hour, bringing it close to human walking speed.Our goal is to develop a gait and a mechanical architecture that will enable high-speed limbless locomotion to support applications such as search and rescue.” Hopefully Hopkins will be able to achieve his dream!