This article was first published by The Times of Israel and is re-posted with permission.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University will join a group of European academics in a four-year, €7 million effort to create a robot — the GrowBot — that can climb like ivy or a vine plant to overcome hurdles.
Departing from tradition, which has seen a great number of robots inspired by the movement of animals, the researchers intend to study climbing plants like ivy and the vine to find out how they move by growing and how much energy they need.
The low-mass and low-volume robots that the consortium hopes to develop will adapt to their surroundings, as do climbing plants, and will be able to negotiate voids and maneuver on uneven surfaces where existing robots would get stuck or fall, the consortium says on its website.
“Robots with wheels or legs that exist today, many of which have been inspired by animals, are able to move across surfaces, but have difficulty dealing with obstacles – such as stairs, rocks, fissures and pits,” said Tel Aviv University’s Yasmin Meroz of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, who will lead the Israeli team in the consortium.
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