Robotic salamander walks and swims like the real thing

Kostas Karakasiliotis, Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL.
Well, humans have had a nice run.

It looks like we won't be the only animals replaced when the robots take over. The Salamandra Robotica II is a robotic reptile that moves like the real thing.

Biorobotics Laboratory’s Salamandra can swim, crawl and walk in different directions and speeds exactly like a salamander. This is due to a digital network that runs through the robot’s “spinal cord”, which instructs Salamandra to undertake one of the three actions depending on the intensity of the electrical signals passing through.

These signals come from a remote laptop, which serves as Salamandra’s brain, and essentially copies the signals a real salamander’s brain sends to its spinal cord in order to move.

Salamandra may not have an obvious use just yet, but the incredible circuitry it possesses will help others understand how vertebrates move. It also means that we're just a few years off from recreating Jurassic Park entirely with robots.

[Biorobotics Laboratory via NewScientist]

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