While this eight legged creature is still a prototype, UC Santa Barbara alum Matthew Garten hopes to debut the finished robot for this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire. Currently the wooden joints in the legs let out a loud squeal that he’s hoping won’t be in the final version (but definitely give off a creepy vibe in his test video).
The technology he’s using is known as the Klann linkageand essentially was developed in the mid-1990s to replace a robot’s wheels by simulating an animal’s walk.
Matthew, seeing himself as both an engineer and inventor, says that robots roam his home. He’s worked on a wide range of projects from MEMS stem cell sorting to rocket-propelled grenade defense. Also you may have seen Matthew’s open source steampunk Arduino watch on Instructables a few years ago.
UC Davis researchers go into rattlesnake country to study the interaction between snakes and squirrels. The snakes are real, but the squirrel is a robot.
“By bringing engineers and biologists together, we’re creating new ways of doing science. Hopefully making discoveries that would not have been made unless we brought these different fields together.” – Sanjay Joshi
A number of former and current students have built the robosquirrels over the years, primarily from the S. Joshi and D. Owings labs at UC Davis, in close collaboration with the R. Clark lab at SDSU. Former PhD student Aaron Rundus built the first robosquirrel for his laboratory studies, assisted by Nick Giannini and Erin Chin. Former MS student Ryan Johnson built the first outdoor robosquirrel for field studies, with input from Matthew Barbour. Alex Barszap, Zac Dillow, Armen Davtyan, Laine Tennyson, and Travis Kupp have modified the squirrels in various ways for continuing field studies, with help from Bree Putman.