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ABSTRACT

Crabs make walking on sand look so easy. It's a simple motion that has so far baffled
scientists who have unsuccessfully tried to recreate the movement in legged robots. Scientists
from Georgia Tech have created the SandBot, the first legged robot that can scurry across sundry
sandy surfaces. Eventually the Georgia Tech scientists hope to apply their findings to other
robots," including those that might travel to other planets.

The first experiments with SandBot were a failure. Like a car spinning its tires only to
sink deeper, SandBot's six legs moved so quickly that the entire robot simply sank. Slowing
down leg speed while increasing the amount of time the leg actually touched the sand helped the
SandBot moving across a wide range of sandy surfaces

The predecessor to SandBot was RHex, a six-legged robot with soft and flexible "C"
shaped feet. Based on a cockroach, the squat, three-kilogram (6.6-pound), 30-centimeter- (11.8-
inch-) long robot successfully walked across a wide range of surfaces, including rubble, leaves,
grass and dirt.

Several body parts interact to allow SandBot to scurry over slippery grains. At the center
is a computer that acts as the brain. In a typical jog, the lets support and propel the body by
coordinating as two tripods-the two outer legs on one side and the middle leg on the opposite
side. Relative to the ground, SandBot bounces like a two-legged pogo stick; the robot’s legs, like
those of a cockroach, are sprawled to give it more stability.