Autonomous undulatory serpentine locomotion utilizing body dynamics of a fluidic soft robot

Bioinspir Biomim. 2013 Jun;8(2):026003. doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/8/2/026003. Epub 2013 Mar 25.


Soft robotics offers the unique promise of creating inherently safe and adaptive systems. These systems bring man-made machines closer to the natural capabilities of biological systems. An important requirement to enable self-contained soft mobile robots is an on-board power source. In this paper, we present an approach to create a bio-inspired soft robotic snake that can undulate in a similar way to its biological counterpart using pressure for actuation power, without human intervention. With this approach, we develop an autonomous soft snake robot with on-board actuation, power, computation and control capabilities. The robot consists of four bidirectional fluidic elastomer actuators in series to create a traveling curvature wave from head to tail along its body. Passive wheels between segments generate the necessary frictional anisotropy for forward locomotion. It takes 14 h to build the soft robotic snake, which can attain an average locomotion speed of 19 mm s(-1).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Biomimetics / instrumentation*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Hardness
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Rheology / instrumentation*
  • Robotics / instrumentation*
  • Snakes / physiology*