Bioinspired robots – Top 25 robots inspired by animals

Nature has always been a master engineer, crafting intricate designs and solutions honed by millions of years of evolution. Robotics researchers and engineers have long looked to the animal kingdom for inspiration, seeking to replicate the remarkable capabilities of creatures big and small.

This synergy of biology and technology has given birth to a field known as bio-inspired robotics, where robots are designed to mimic the movement, behavior, and sometimes even the appearance of animals. In this article, we delve into 25 such robots that showcase the incredible potential of nature-inspired innovation.

1. MIRO – Biomimetic Aquarium Robot Fish

MIRO (Marine Intelligence Robot), developed by AIRO Inc., stands as the world’s first commercially available biomimetic aquarium robot fish. Equipped with two motors and four distance measurement sensors, MIRO can swim autonomously or be controlled remotely, mimicking the movements of various fish species like carp, arowana, and even sharks. This remarkable robot can dive up to 50 meters, offering a mesmerizing underwater experience for aquarium enthusiasts.

2. Robugtix T8X – Robot Spider

Robugtix T8X is a bio-inspired, 3D-printed spider robot that moves with the eerily realistic gait of its eight-legged namesake. Utilizing an inverse kinematics algorithm, the T8X coordinates its 26 leg servos, enabling it to walk, crawl, and even perform programmed tricks. This programmable robot offers a unique blend of realism, functionality, and customizability.

3. Bionic Bird – A Flying Pet

The Bionic Bird, developed by XTIM, is a lightweight drone that soars through the air with the grace of a real bird. Controlled via a smartphone app, this agile drone features independent flapping wings that beat 18 times per second, allowing for impressive maneuverability both indoors and outdoors. Its lightweight design and rapid charging capability make it a fun and accessible way to experience the thrill of flight.

4. Pleurobot – Salamander-like Robot

Pleurobot, a creation of EPFL and NCCR Robotics, is a salamander-like robot capable of both walking and swimming. Its articulated vertebrae, modeled after those of a real salamander, enable it to navigate challenging terrain and even underwater environments. Pleurobot’s potential applications range from search and rescue missions to advancing our understanding of the locomotive nervous system.

5. Airacuda – Artificial Fish

Festo’s Airacuda is a pneumatically driven fish robot that mimics the shape, movement, and even the buoyancy control of its biological counterpart. Driven by a mechanical fin drive and controlled by fluidic muscles, the Airacuda can swim gracefully through water, adjusting its depth and maneuverability with impressive precision.

6. Scorpion Hexapod

The Scorpion Hexapod, developed by students at the University of Ghent, is a six-legged robot reminiscent of a giant scorpion. Its 3D-printed body parts and infrared sensors allow it to navigate obstacles and interact with its environment. The robot’s programmable nature and realistic stinger add a touch of playful menace to its design.

7. AquaJellies – Autonomous Jellyfish

Festo’s AquaJellies are autonomous jellyfish robots that move with the mesmerizing grace of their natural counterparts. Enclosed in a watertight body, these robots are equipped with an electric motor, batteries, and a swashplate actuator, enabling them to swarm and interact with each other. Their integrated pressure, light, and radio sensors contribute to their realistic behavior and communication capabilities.

8. Eelume – A Snaky Robot

Eelume, a snake-like robotic arm developed by the company Eelume, is designed for underwater inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Its slender, self-propelled body allows it to access tight spaces and navigate complex environments. Eelume can be either remotely controlled or fully autonomous, making it a versatile tool for subsea operations.

9. SpotMini – A Dog-like Robot

Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini is a quadruped robot that resembles a dog in both appearance and functionality. This agile robot can navigate stairs, handle objects, and operate in various environments, from offices to homes and even outdoors. SpotMini’s advanced perception sensors and 5-degree-of-freedom arm enable it to perform a wide range of tasks, both autonomously and with human guidance.

10. BionicOpter – Robot Dragonfly

Festo’s BionicOpter is a marvel of engineering, mimicking the flight of a dragonfly with remarkable accuracy. Its four wings, controlled by complex software and electronics, allow it to maneuver in all directions, hover, and even glide without flapping. This lightweight and agile robot showcases the potential of bio-inspired flight technologies.

11. Octobot – Soft-bodied Autonomous Octopus Robot

The Octobot, developed by Harvard researchers, is a remarkable example of soft robotics. This 3D-printed robot is entirely soft-bodied, mimicking the squishy texture and flexibility of a real octopus. It is powered by hydrogen peroxide and controlled by a microfluidic logic circuit, eliminating the need for traditional batteries or electronics. The Octobot’s ability to move autonomously demonstrates the potential of soft robotics in various applications.

12. Robird – Bird Drone

Clear Flight Solutions’ Robird is a drone designed to scare birds away from airports and other sensitive areas. This 3D-printed, remote-controlled drone mimics the appearance and flight patterns of a raptor, effectively deterring birds from entering hazardous airspace. Its realistic flapping wings and gliding capabilities make it an effective and environmentally friendly bird control solution.

13. MantaDroid – A Manta Ray Robot

The MantaDroid, created by researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS), is an underwater robot that replicates the swimming motion of a manta ray. Utilizing a single motor and flexible fins, this autonomous robot can swim for up to 10 hours on a single charge. Its potential applications include underwater surveillance, data collection, and search operations.

14. Guardian S – Snake Robot

Sarcos Robotics’ Guardian S is a snake-like robot designed for surveillance and inspection tasks in challenging environments. This waterproof robot can traverse steep terrain, crawl through narrow pipes, and even climb stairs. Its modular design allows for various sensors and tools to be attached, making it adaptable to a wide range of applications, from industrial inspections to search and rescue missions.

15. HAMR – Cockroach Robot

The Harvard Ambulatory MicroRobot (HAMR) is a tiny robot inspired by the remarkable mobility of cockroaches. This centimeter-scale robot can walk, swim on water, and even walk underwater. Developed by Harvard University researchers, HAMR’s potential applications include exploration of confined spaces and disaster response scenarios.

16. Stickybot – A Gecko-like Robot

Stickybot, a creation of Stanford engineers, emulates the incredible climbing ability of geckos. Inspired by the thousands of tiny hairs (setae) on gecko feet that enable them to adhere to surfaces, Stickybot can climb smooth vertical walls, even glass. This technology has potential applications in inspection, maintenance, and search and rescue operations.

17. Bat Bot B2

Bat Bot B2, developed by Caltech researchers, is a self-contained flying robot that mimics the flight of a bat. Its silicone-based, stretchable membrane wings enable it to flap and maneuver like a real bat, changing wing shape through complex movements of its joints. This research has implications for aerial robotics and our understanding of bat flight dynamics.

18. SCRATCHbot – A Robot Rat

SCRATCHbot, a creation of the Bristol Robotics Lab, is a robot rat that uses whiskers instead of vision to navigate and identify objects. This innovative approach allows the robot to function in environments where vision is limited, such as dark or smoke-filled areas. SCRATCHbot’s whisker technology could be applied to various tasks, including underground exploration and search and rescue missions.

19. SoFi – A Soft Robotic Fish

SoFi, developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), is a soft robotic fish designed to study marine life without disturbing it. Made of silicone rubber, SoFi can swim like a real fish, controlling its buoyancy and maneuvering through the water. This gentle approach allows researchers to observe aquatic life in its natural habitat.

20. RoboBee

The RoboBee, a product of Harvard University’s Microrobotics Lab, is a tiny flying robot inspired by the biology of bees. This autonomously flying microrobot has potential applications in crop pollination, surveillance, and environmental monitoring. Its small size and lightweight design make it a versatile platform for various research and practical tasks.

21. BionicANTs – Autonomous Robotic Ants

Festo’s BionicANTs are a swarm of autonomous robots that mimic the cooperative behavior of ants. These 3D-printed robots communicate with each other, collaborate on tasks, and even recharge themselves wirelessly. Their potential applications include industrial automation and complex manufacturing processes.

22. Snake Monster – A Modular Snake Robot

The Snake Monster, developed by Hirose Fukushima Robotics Lab, is a modular snake robot designed for disaster response. Its flexible body can navigate through debris and tight spaces, while its modular design allows for various tools and sensors to be attached. This robot can assist in search and rescue operations and inspect hazardous environments.

23. Festo BionicSwift – Agile Bird-like Drones

Festo’s BionicSwifts are a group of bird-like drones that exhibit impressive agility and coordination. Inspired by the swift bird, these drones can fly autonomously, avoid obstacles, and even communicate with each other. Their potential applications include indoor navigation, aerial photography, and entertainment.

24. MIT Cheetah Robot – A High-Speed Quadruped

The MIT Cheetah Robot is a quadruped robot known for its impressive speed and agility. Developed by MIT’s Biomimetic Robotics Lab, this robot can run, jump, and even recover from falls. Its potential applications include search and rescue missions, disaster response, and military operations.

25. RHex – A Six-legged Robot

RHex, developed by Boston Dynamics, is a six-legged robot designed for rough terrain mobility. Its simple yet robust design allows it to climb over obstacles, navigate through mud and water, and even right itself if it falls over. RHex has been used in various applications, including military reconnaissance and environmental monitoring.

The field of bio-inspired robotics continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, with researchers and engineers constantly seeking new ways to emulate the incredible capabilities of the animal kingdom. As technology advances, we can expect even more impressive and innovative bioinspired robots that will revolutionize various industries and help us better understand the natural world.