Brittle Stars inspire new generation robot

This is a significant breakthrough as robots inspired by brittle stars. are increasingly expected to function in tough environments under hazardous conditions.

Brittle Stars inspire new generation robot
Brittle Stars inspire new generation robots able to adapt to physical damage

For the first time, scientists at the Tohoku University in collaboration with Hokkaido University, have successfully developed new generation robot that could adapt unexpected physical damage within few minutes.

Brittle Stars inspire new generation robot
(a) Overview of a brittle star (left) and photographs of locomotion when it lost one of its arms (right). (b) Overview of the brittle star-like robot PENTABOT II (left) and photographs of locomotion when one of the arms was destroyed (right). The robot could keep moving by coordinating the remaining arms appropriately.

Traditional robots have a tendency to require a lot of time (a few several seconds) to adjust when they bring about startling physical harm. To address this issue, researchers concentrated on a brittle star – a primitive echinoderm with five adaptable arms.

Brittle stars do not have a complex focal sensory system, yet can promptly adjust to a subjective loss of their arms and still move by planning the rest of the arms.

In light of behavioral examinations including brittle stars whose arms were severed in different ways, the specialists proposed a straightforward decentralized control instrument in which each arm kicks the ground just when it gets an assistive response compel.

This instrument was actualized in a brittle star like robot to exhibit that it can adjust to surprising physical harm inside a couple of moments, similar to its organic model.

Scientists noted, “This is a significant breakthrough as robots are increasingly expected to function in tough environments under hazardous conditions.”

Brittle Stars inspire new generation robot
Schematic of the proposed control scheme. First, each arm moves randomly to obtain a response from the environment. If the reaction force assists propulsion, the arm pushes itself against the ground, after which the arm lifts off from the ground and moves forward. When the reaction force impedes propulsion, no further action is generated.

Scientists believe that the finding could help in developing resilient robots that can work in inhospitable environments such as disaster areas. It also provides insights into the essential mechanism underlying resilient animal locomotion.