Manufacturing & Prototyping

Salamander Robot Precisely Mimics Motion - Walks, Crawls, Swims Underwater

EPFL scientists have invented a new robot that mimics the gait of a salamander and features 3D-printed bones, motorized joints, and electronic circuitry as its 'nervous system.' Inspired by the salamander species Pleurodeles waltl, 'Pleurobot' can walk, crawl, and swim underwater. The scientists used x-ray videos of a salamander from the top and the side, tracking up to 64 points along its skeleton while it performed different types of motion in water and on the ground. The robot features only 27 motors and 11 segments along its spine, while the amphibian has 40 vertebrae and multiple joints, some of which can even rotate freely and move side-to-side or up and down. The researchers believe that understanding the fundamentals of the interplay between the spinal cord and the body's locomotion will help with the development of future therapies and neuroprosthetic devices for paraplegic patients and amputees.