UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed an innovative fast, controllable snake-like soft robot capable of burrowing through sand. This paves the way for new applications of fast, precise and minimally invasive movement underground, while also laying mechanical foundations for new types of robots. Simply put, the body mimics plants and the way they navigate by growing from their tips, while the rest of the body remains stationary. Read more for a video and additional information.
When underground, tip extension keeps resisting forces low and localized only to the growing end, compared to if the whole body moved as it grew, which increases over the entire surface as more of the robot entered the sand until it could no longer move. It also uses granular fluidization, which suspends the particles in a fluid-like state and allows the animal to overcome the high level of resistance presented by sand or loose soil. Practical applications for this robot include soil sampling, underground installation of utilities and erosion control.
- This car has multiple functions. (Assembly required. Raspberry Pi and Battery are NOT contained.)
- Provides detailed tutorial and complete code (Python) -> The download link can be found on the product box. (No paper tutorial.)
- Compatible models -> Raspberry Pi 4B / 3B+ / 3B / 3A+. (2B / B+ / A+ / Zero 1.3 / Zero W is also compatible but needs extra parts.)
- Control methods -> Controlled wirelessly by your Android devices, iPhone and computer (Windows, macOS and Raspberry Pi OS).
- Needs battery -> See "AboutBattery.pdf" in downloaded file to buy.
Discovery of principles by which diverse organisms successfully swim and dig within granular media can lead to development of new kinds of mechanisms and robots that can take advantage of such principles. And reciprocally, development of a robot with such capabilities can inspire new animal studies as well as point to new phenomena in the physics of granular substrates,” said Daniel Goldman, Dunn Family Professor of Physics at Georgia Tech.