BBC News

Automated amphibian teaches us to walk

Scientists in Switzerland have created a robotic salamander that mimics the gait of the ancient amphibian in great detail.

The Pleurobot can walk, crawl and even swim underwater.

The team at EPFL in Lausanne used x-ray video of a salamander to track 64 points along its skeleton as it walked and swam.

They used that data to build Pleurobot using 3D-printed bones, motorized joints and a 'nervous system' made of electronic circuitry.

The researchers hope that by replicating the salamander's movement, the robot amphibian can teach them more about the interplay between the spinal cord and the body in vertebrates, and so aid development of therapies and neuroprosthetics for paraplegic patients and amputees.