Simulation and robotics studies of salamander locomotion: applying neurobiological principles to the control of locomotion in robots

Neuroinformatics. 2005;3(3):171-95. doi: 10.1385/NI:3:3:171.


This article presents a project that aims at understanding the neural circuitry controlling salamander locomotion, and developing an amphibious salamander-like robot capable of replicating its bimodal locomotion, namely swimming and terrestrial walking. The controllers of the robot are central pattern generator models inspired by the salamander's locomotion control network. The goal of the project is twofold: (1) to use robots as tools for gaining a better understanding of locomotion control in vertebrates and (2) to develop new robot and control technologies for developing agile and adaptive outdoor robots. The article has four parts. We first describe the motivations behind the project. We then present neuromechanical simulation studies of locomotion control in salamanders. This is followed by a description of the current stage of the robotic developments. We conclude the article with a discussion on the usefulness of robots in neuroscience research with a special focus on locomotion control.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Cybernetics
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Gait / physiology
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Neurobiology / methods
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Robotics*
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Time Factors
  • Urodela / physiology*