The Robots That Mimic Animals

The Robots That Mimic Animals

It should be no surprise that so many developers are trying to make robots that mimic animals. As a race, humans are arrogant enough to think we are superior but there are things animals can do and places they can get to, where humans would not stand a chance.

Marsbees – Nasa

Nasa has announced that it is developing robotic bees. These will be used to gather information from the parts of Mars that the Mars Rover cannot get to. They look very much like real bees except they have larger wings. As well as their data collecting abilities they can detect methane, which can be a sign of life.

The idea is that they fly out from a mobile base, probably a Mars Rover, map the terrain and take samples. They will be searching for life while doing these things, so they are going to be busy little bees.

SpotMini – Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics have developed several animal like robots, and the updated version of SpotMini is their latest offering. It has an arm where its head should be, and it can use this to open doors, even if someone tries to interrupt it.

It is smaller than its brother Spot, but has just as many capabilities and is more agile. Boston Dynamics say it will fit comfortably into any home.


Researchers from the National University of Singapore have developed this robot that swims like a manta ray, disguising it among aquatic surroundings. They hope it will prove useful for underwater searches and collecting data from the bottom of the oceans. It has flexible fins that will allow it to carry on with its work, as it can glide through the most turbulent of waters.

It is powered by just one electric motor on each fin, and the passive flexibility of the fins interacts naturally with the fluid dynamics of the water. It took more than 40 different designs to get the fins to be as good as the team wanted.


The researchers at Carnegie Mellon University biorobtics lab developed this series of non-lethal reptilian robots. They have proved to be very useful and have so far been used to search sewers, earthquake sites and by surgeons to explore normally difficult areas.

They can vary greatly in size and structure, but they all share two properties. Their length to small cross-section ratios allows them to enter confined and small spaces, and the ability to change their shape means that even the most awkward of spaces can be navigated. Where they stand out above some other robots though is that some of them can swim, some of them can climb and some can move effortlessly across the ground. SnakeBot is one of the very few that can do all three.

At the end of the day, the abilities the developers are anvil to give these robots is progressing all the time, and the ones that are being made to mimic animals is just helping to integrate them into our society.

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