Sidewinding with minimal slip: Snake and robot ascent of sandy slopes

Hamidreza Marvi, Chaohui Gong, Nick Gravish, Henry Astley, Matthew Travers, Ross L. Hatton, Joseph R. Mendelson, Howie Choset, David L. Hu, Daniel I. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Limbless organisms such as snakes can navigate nearly all terrain. In particular, desert-dwelling sidewinder rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerastes) operate effectively on inclined granular media (such as sand dunes) that induce failure in field-tested limbless robots through slipping and pitching. Our laboratory experiments reveal that as granular incline angle increases, sidewinder rattlesnakes increase the length of their body in contact with the sand. Implementing this strategy in a physical robot model of the snake enables the device to ascend sandy slopes close to the angle of maximum slope stability. Plate drag experiments demonstrate that granular yield stresses decrease with increasing incline angle. Together, these three approaches demonstrate how sidewinding with contact-length control mitigates failure on granular media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume346
Issue number6206
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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    Marvi, H., Gong, C., Gravish, N., Astley, H., Travers, M., Hatton, R. L., Mendelson, J. R., Choset, H., Hu, D. L., & Goldman, D. I. (2014). Sidewinding with minimal slip: Snake and robot ascent of sandy slopes. Science, 346(6206), 224-229. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1255718