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Lizard-Inspired Amphibious Robot Runs Across Water

Lizard-Inspired Amphibious Robot Runs Across Water

November 4, 2020

Robotics & High-Tech

New Atlas — Developed by a BGU research team, the basilisk-inspired AmphiSTAR is the latest member of BGU’s STAR family of robots.

The basilisk is also known as the “Jesus Christ Lizard,” due to the fact that it can run across the surface of the water. A new version of an existing type of robot does the same thing, plus it’s capable of traversing rough terrain.

The “palm-sized” AmphiSTAR retains the outrigger-like spreadable arms, which are now equipped with a total of four paddle-bladed propellers – two on the underside of each arm.

Dr. David Zarrouk

“We envision that AmphiSTAR can be used for agricultural, search and rescue and excavation applications, where both crawling and swimming are required,” says Dr. David Zarrouk, director of BGU’s Bioinspired and Medical Robotics Laboratory and a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

When moving across surfaces such as grass or gravel, the arms are angled so that the propeller blades function like rimless spoked wheels, digging in and pulling the robot forward. This configuration allows it to crawl at a maximum speed of 3.6 meters per second (11.8 ft/s).

Upon reaching a body of water, it continues to use the propellers, which are now angled to let it “run on the water” at up to 1.5 m/s (4.9 ft/s). That said, it can also move across the water in a slower more boat-like fashion, with a pair of buoyancy tanks keeping it afloat. Future plans include giving it the ability to swim underwater.

The robot was presented last week via the online International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

Click on the image below to watch a video of the robot in action.

Read more in New Atlas >>