These Robotic Legs Slither and Wiggle Like a Snake - Nerdist
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These Robotic Legs Slither and Wiggle Like a Snake

Recently, YouTuber Allen Pan gave a snake robotic legs in case it wanted to walk around. James Bruton saw that and instead of just saying “huh” and moving on, he decided to make a set that move in a more snake-like manner. Because if a snake is going to have robotic legs at all, I guess it makes sense for the legs themselves to move like snakes. Whether or not that makes any sense whatsoever, the video below shows off the 3D-printed project for these snake robot legs. Unlike Pan’s though, there’s no actual snake in this one. Hopefully that will come in a follow-up post. Those who are ophidiophobic, or terrified of snakes, may be happy with the lack of serpent test subject.

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Like Pan, Bruton uses programmable servos to control the motion of each snake robot leg. He bases the build of his set of six legs off of a LEGO build of tentacle arms. Each joint is offset 45 degrees from the others, giving it that wiggly motion. It still doesn’t quite translate a snake’s body movement into legs. That is harder than it seems, even for bioengineering professionals. There’s a team of scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology working on a robot that wiggles its body like a lizard, which requires the body and the legs to both move. Bruton could also check out this tentacle-armed robot from Harvard researchers for inspiration, though really it looks more like a jellyfish.

A robot with six orange segmented legs
James Bruton

Other robotic builds on the James Bruton YouTube channel include an omni-directional vehicle that looks like a lot of fun to ride on and a robot that punches you in the face while you’re playing virtual reality games, which sounds like considerably less fun. But they are all 3D-printed projects that take a lot of planning and work.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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