Local reflexive mechanisms essential for snakes' scaffold-based locomotion

Takeshi Kano, Takahide Sato, Ryo Kobayashi, Akio Ishiguro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Most robots are designed to work in predefined environments, and irregularities that exist in the environment interfere with their operation. For snakes, irregularities play the opposite role: snakes actively utilize terrain irregularities and move by effectively pushing their body against the scaffolds that they encounter. Autonomous decentralized control mechanisms could be the key to understanding this locomotion. We demonstrate through modelling and simulations that only two local reflexive mechanisms, which exploit sensory information about the stretching of muscles and the pressure on the body wall, are crucial for realizing locomotion. This finding will help develop robots that work in undefined environments and shed light on the understanding of the fundamental principles underlying adaptive locomotion in animals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number046008
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec


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