Thanks to their swimming robot modeled after a lamprey, EPFL scientists may have discovered why some vertebrates are able to retain their locomotor capabilities after a spinal cord lesion. The finding could also help improve the performance of swimming robots used for search and rescue missions and for environmental monitoring.

Scientists at the Biorobotics Laboratory (BioRob) led by Auke Ijspeert are developing innovative robots in order to study locomotion in animals and, ultimately, gain a better understanding of the neuroscience behind the generation of movement. One such robot is AgnathaX, a swimming robot employed in an international study with researchers from EPFL as well as Tohoku University in Japan, Institut Mines-Télécom Atlantique in Nantes, France, and Université de Sherbrooke in Canada. The study has been published in Science Robotics.

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References: R. Thandiackal, K. Melo, L. Paez, J. Herault, T. Kano, K. Akiyama, F. Boyer, D. Ryczko, A. Ishiguro, and A. J. Ijspeert. “Emergence of Robust Self-Organized Undulatory Swimming Based on Local Hydrodynamic Force Sensing.” Science Robotics. 11 Aug 2021. DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.abf6354