Scientists Build Mudskipper Robot Called MuddyBot

Posted on July 11, 2016

MuddyBot

Scientists have developed a robot called MuddyBot that was inspired by the mudskipper. The robot was developed by researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Clemson University and National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

The researchers are studying a hypothesis that coordinated tail movement played an important role in evolution of terrestrial vertebrates. The mudskipper lives in tidal areas near the shore and moves on land using its front fins and tail. MuddyBot mimics this movement.

Daniel Goldman, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Physics, says in a statement, "I was interested in evolutionary biology from a natural history perspective: imagining the grand scope of life on Earth and trying to understand how animals lived hundreds of millions of years ago and in this case, trying to understand how major transitions in behavior happened. For me this has been a nice integration of my interests applied to a question which I just think is fascinating: what did the earliest animals do when they were trying to crawl around on land?"

The researchers say the quantitative evidence supports the idea that the first animals to move from water onto land may have had tails and used a crutching motion. Here is a video of MuddyBot in action:



Photo: Rob Felt, Georgia Tech