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Automating Invention is Robert Plotkin's blog on the impact of computer-automated inventing on the future of invention and patent law.

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December 1, 2009

Biological Models for Robot Design

MIT professor Sanbae Kim is studying the animal kingdom to find biological models for robot designs. Working with Stanford professor Mark Cutosky, Kim has designed robots like the Stickybot, named by Time Magazine as one of the best inventions of 2006. Inspired by a gecko, the Stickybot uses directional adhesive foot pads to climb smooth vertical surfaces like glass. Another robot name iSprawl uses motion inspired by cockroaches. Kim's latest project uses the running style of the cheetah as the model for its locomotion. Kim and a team of four MIT graduate students are creating a prototype robot using a lightweight carbon-fiber-foam composite. In contrast to most robots that use wheels for motion and are relatively slow, with top speeds of about 5 mph, the cheetah-inspired robot will be designed to run at 35 mph. According to Kim, the challenges of the project include replicating the structure of the cheetah and designing a motor that can quickly provide enough power for the robot to sprint.

Posted by BlogAuthor1 at 6:14 PM | Comments (1)
category: Design & Engineering