Scientists Turning to Creation for Inspiration

on July 3, 2010

ScienceDaily: “Hop, Jump, and Stick; Robots Designed with Insect InstinctsOnce again, scientists are turning to God’s creations for inspiration.

“We are not blindly imitating nature, but using the same principles to possibly improve on it.”

A team at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at Switzerland’s Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne is taking a cue from the insect world in developing more intelligent, more capable robots. The scientists’ most recent creation is an insect-like robot that can perch on almost any surface.

“We are not blindly imitating nature, but using the same principles to possibly improve on it,” noted the school’s Mirko Kovac, a robotics engineer. “Simple behavioral laws such as jumping, flying, and perching lead to complex control over movement without the need for high computational power.”

Kovac and his colleagues hope that such highly mobile robots may one day be put to use carrying sensors and cameras to explore areas being destroyed by natural disasters. However, a current difficulty is the heavy power sources flying robots must carry to power their propulsion. By giving flying robots the ability to perch, Kovac’s team paves the way for flying robots that use less energy and are therefore more feasible for real-world applications.

“I am fascinated by the creative process, and how it is possible to use the sophistication found in nature to create something completely new,” Kovac added. To us, the research is one more great example of human designers recognizing the creativity of the Master Designer.

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