Salamander robot mimics journey from sea to land

From the CBC: Salamander robot mimics journey from sea to land.

A group of Swiss and French researchers believe their salamander-like robot provides clues into how early amphibians made the leap from swimming to walking hundreds of millions of years ago.

The development of the robot’s spinal cord model may also lead to a greater understanding of how our own nervous system sends signals from the brain to our bodies, the researchers said in a paper published on Friday.

Scientists from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland and the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale centre at the University of Bordeaux in France introduced their robot, Salamandra Robotica, in the March 9 issue of the journal Science.

The scientists designed the robot based on what they know of a salamander’s movements. The metre-long robot has 10 motors driving a body made up of four rotating legs and six joints, all controlled wirelessly from a laptop computer. [continue]