Introduction to Bio-Inspired Robotics
Bio-inspired robotic locomotion is a fairly new sub-category of bio-inspired design. It is about learning concepts from nature and applying them to the design of real world engineered systems. More specifically, this field is about making robots that are inspired by biological systems. Biomimicry and bio-inspired design are sometimes confused. Biomimicry is copying the nature while bio-inspired design is learning from nature and making a mechanism that is simpler and more effective than the system observed in nature. Biomimicry has led to the development of a different branch of robotics called soft robotics. The biological systems have been optimized for specific tasks according to their habitat. However, they are multi-functional and are not designed for only one specific functionality. Bio-inspired robotics is about studying biological systems, and look for the mechanisms that may solve a problem in the engineering field. The designer should then try to simplify and enhance that mechanism for the specific task of interest. Bio-inspired roboticists are usually interested in biosensors (e.g. eye), bioactuators (e.g. muscle), or biomaterials (e.g. spider silk). Most of the robots have some type of locomotion system. Thus, in this article different modes of animal locomotion and few examples of the corresponding bio-inspired robots are introduced..