Salamander Robot Makes Amphibious Locomotion Look Easy

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Salamandra Robotica

Salamandra robotica II is a latest generation amphibious robot developed by the Biorobotics Laboratory at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). The Salamandra robotica II is able to swim, crawl and walk—all by combining robotics, evolution and neurobiology. 
This amphibious robot was developed by Professor Auke Ijspeert's team at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in collaboration with Jean-Marie Cabelguen from the University of Bordeaux /INSERM.

The swimming robot has evolved much faster that the animal it was modeled upon. Salamandra robotica II is now much more robust, faster and more powerful than the 2007 prototype.

The researcher's work on the robot has been published by IEEE Xplore.

A living salamander's locomotion is controlled by neural circuits distributed along its spinal cord. When it chooses whether to swim or walk, its decision depends on the intensity of the electrical signals sent from the brain to the spinal cord circuits. Salamandra robotica II is able to move by using a digital model of the salamander's neural network.

Salamander Robot Makes Amphibious Locomotion Look Easy

A remote computer triggers electrical signals that mimic those coming from a real salamander's brain. Finally, the signals control the walking and swimming modes, as well as the speed and direction of the robot's movement.

Salamandra robotica II paves the way for a new generation of amphibious robots that are capable of changing their speed, direction or locomotion mode by the transmission of simple commands from a remote station. This feature could prove to be particularly useful in a range of fields such search and rescue operations according to it's developers.