BGU develops versatile robot inspired by cockroaches, lizards

"We envision that AmphiSTAR can be used for agricultural, search and rescue and excavation applications, where both crawling and swimming are required."

AmphiSTAR robot (photo credit: BEN GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV)
AmphiSTAR robot
(photo credit: BEN GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV)
Researchers from Ben Gurion University have developed a new, high-speed robot inspired by the movements of cockroaches and lizards which can swim and run on top of water and navigate difficult terrain.
The AmphiSTAR robot was presented virtually by Dr. David Zarrouk, director of the Bioinspired and Medical Robotics Laboratory in BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and graduate student Avi Cohen at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).
"The AmphiSTAR uses a sprawling mechanism inspired by cockroaches, and it is designed to run on water at high speeds like the basilisk lizard," said Zarrouk. "We envision that AmphiSTAR can be used for agricultural, search and rescue and excavation applications, where both crawling and swimming are required."
AmpihSTAR is a wheeled robot with four propellers who can be tilted using the sprawl mechanism. The propellers act as wheels on ground and fins over water. Two air tanks allow the robot to float and transition smoothly between high speed while hovering on water to lower speeds while swimming.
The robot can crawl over gravel, grass and concrete quickly, reaching speeds of 3.6 m/s.
"Our future research will focus on the scalability of the robot and on underwater swimming," said Zarrouk.