Pleurobot looks like a salamander skeleton come to life and that's no coincidence. The robot was engineered to slink around exactly like a salamander. And we mean exactly.
When researchers at Switzerland's EPFL set out to build Pleurobot, they spent hours looking at 3D X-ray videos of a salamanders walking, swimming, and walking underwater. The videos tracked up to 48 points on the animals bodies.
The "bones" in Pleurobot don't match up one-to-one with a salamander's skeleton, but they're close enough to reproduce its many postures and positions. To match the animal's movements, the researchers applied neural network models that mimic pattern generators in the spinal cord to control "virtual muscles".
Pleurobot isn't the most agile or strong robot, but like a salamander, it can easily move from land to water. It just needs its waterproof suit to walk and to swim underwater.
Image credit: Pleurobot