Useful engineering knowledge from living things is difficult to acquire; in living systems there are large numbers of factors at work. To deduce important factors not only requires careful observation, but also careful planning of experiments. Even when a biological system has been understood, it may be difficult to translate this knowledge to engineering mechanics because of the very particular characteristics of living material and its control by the nervous system of an animal. However, living systems offer a wealth of new ideas to inspire new engineering solutions to old problems. For this reason, the difficulty of such investigations is repaid. This book is an account of the author's investigations of the locomotion of snakes (the garter snake "Thamnophilis sirtalis" or "Elaphe quadrivigata" in particular) and the application of the acquired knowledge to a new class of robots displaying snake-like motions. Such robots in which the whole mechanism moves (rather than the classic pedestal/arm arrangement of industrial robots) has many potential applications in the future.
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