Despite their cute faces and little tongues, snakes are far from a widely loved animal. For many, these slithering serpents invoke fear of poisoning, strangulation or simply of them falling from airplane storage compartments. But when scientists from Johns Hopkins University looked at these legless beasts, they instead saw robotic inspiration.
It's no secret that nature still does things best and borrowing from nature to improve the design and implementation of technology is nothing new. In recent years scientists have borrowed the texture of shark scales to create bacteria resistant materials and crafted hefty running robots in the likeness of dogs and cheetahs for reconnaissance. When it comes to snakes, however, scientists are particularly interested in how these slender animals are able to easily traverse rough terrain and how such tactics could be implemented in search and rescue robots or even exploration of an extraterrestrial surface like Mars.
But before engineers could design such nimble robots, they first had to learn what makes snakes so good at this creepy, crawling.