Biomimicry seems to be the best strategy for top designers in robotics. The “Snail-Wave Omnidirectional Mobile Robot” seems to be inspired by the humble snail’s movement pattern. The snail’s galloping technique has been studied and improved upon in the robot by the Biomechatronics Lab at Chuo University in Japan.
The robot which is able to move in any direction has a large griping area that is always in contact with the ground. There are as yet no applications based on the robotic model in the commercial or military world, but it is just a matter of time before its unique omnidirectional feature is put to use.
This is not the first time that a robotics engineer has looked towards nature for a workable design. There are the ‘snakebot’, the ‘ro-bat’, the ‘shark-tail wave harvester’ and a great varierty of other animal mimicking robots already in design.
The movement pattern of the snail robot is such that it moves the front part of the body up first, establishing traction there, and then using that as an anchor to pull the rest of the body forwards. The advantage of the robot is that no matter which direction it moves in it is stable.