Soft foam robot with caterpillar-inspired gait regimes for terrestrial locomotion

Abstract: Caterpillars are the soft bodied larvae of lepidopteran insects. They have evolved to occupy an extremely diverse range of natural environments and to locomote in complex three-dimensional structures without articulated joint or hydrostatic control. These animals make excellent bio-inspiration for the field of soft robotics because of their diversity and adaptability. In this paper, we present SquMA Bot, a caterpillar-inspired soft robot. The robot's body is primarily composed of a soft viscoelastic foam, and it is actuated using a motor-tendon system. SquMA Bot is able to mimic the inching gait of a caterpillar and can use its flexible body to adapt to a range of environments. This bio-inspired prototype demonstrates the effectiveness of a soft robot as a potential tool for exploring environments too dangerous for humans.