At Carnegie Mellon, those masters-of-the-robo-universe have a dedicated lab for studying snake locomotion and applying it to robots that can swim, climb telephone poles and wriggle up walls.
Snakes serve as fine models for robot mobility thanks to their many internal degrees of freedom; each segment of their bodies can move independently, creating a wave of motion that can traverse terrain that wheeled and legged 'bots can't.
For more on snakebot locomotion, see our Q&A and tour of roboticist Amir Shapiro's lab. Just don't do it right before bedtime.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.