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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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Soft-bodied terrestrial invertebrates and robots

Soft-bodied terrestrial invertebrates and robots

(p.395) Chapter 41 Soft-bodied terrestrial invertebrates and robots
Living machines

Barry Trimmer

Oxford University Press

Studies of animal locomotion and its control have generally focused on species with articulated, stiff skeletons, largely ignoring the contributions of soft tissues. Attempts to create animal-like performance in robots illustrate the limitations of using rigid-body mechanics alone. There is a growing appreciation that soft structures are critical for producing robust and adaptable behaviors in complex environments. Studies of predominantly soft animals could help to accelerate our understanding of the biomechanical role of deformable materials and their control. This chapter focuses on our current understanding of locomotion in terrestrial soft animals. It highlights the critical distinction between purely hydrostatic systems that control movements by pressurization and those that can remain relatively soft and exploit stiff substrates (the environmental skeleton strategy). The final section describes biomimetic devices that have been inspired by both animal strategies to show how such biological solutions might be employed to build controllable, highly deformable mobile machines.

Keywords:   soft animals, neuromechanics, hydrostatic, environmental skeleton, biomimetic robots

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