Swimming Lamprey Robot Offers Locomotion Insight

Thanks to their swimming robot modeled after a lamprey, EPFL scientists may have discovered why some vertebrates are able to retain their locomotor capabilities after a spinal cord lesion. The finding could also help improve the performance of swimming robots used for search and rescue missions and for environmental monitoring. AgnathaX is a long, undulating robot designed to mimic a lamprey, which is a primitive eel-like fish. It contains a series of motors that actuate the robot’s ten segments, which replicate the muscles along a lamprey’s body. The robot also has force sensors distributed laterally along its segments that work like the pressure-sensitive cells on a lamprey’s skin and detect the force of the water against the animal.