Scientists Study Caterpillars for Robo Locomotion Ideas

tobacco hornwormScientists at Tufts University in Medford Massachusetts are studying the tobacco hornworm caterpillars and how they move.

The scientists are interested in soft body creatures and creating soft body robots.  That means creating robots with things like elastomers or 3D-fiber knitting and using flexible components. Who knew you could knit a robot?

The caterpillars were put on an insect size treadmill to see how they walk and had x-rays taken while walking. What was discovered from the x-rays is that the caterpillars can actually move their guts independently of their bodies.  The caterpillar does so in a manner similar to humans swinging there arms when they walk to maintain balance.

It seems more and more robots are being based on nature, like Harvard University creating robo bees.

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