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Robot moves itself in a wave-like formation

03 August 2016

The Single-Actuator Wave Robot (SAW) created by BGU engineers is a biological-inspired robot that propels itself through a “continuously advancing” transverse wave.

The SAW robot (Credit: BGU)

To state it simply, it’s a robot that moves forward by doing the worm dance.

“It turns out that the wave is a very efficient mechanism for moving on tough surfaces, such as sand, gravel, mud, rubble and many others,” says Dr. David Zarouk of BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the project.

The SAW robot is powered by a single motor that rotates a spine-like helix, embedded inside a series of 3D printed plastic links. As the chain-like links touch the ground, they rotate, pushing the robot forward.

The way the robot is created allows it to be easily scalable up or down, opening the door to a host of potential applications.

“The robot could be as small as just one centimetre,” says Dr. Zarouk. “At that size we think it could be a very useful tool for medicine, since it would be possible for someone to swallow it, and then for it to act as a self-propelled capsule for endoscopy or even taking biopsies.”

Video courtesy of BGU.

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