Check out this great TED talk by UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full. His subject is feet – or rather, all the clever ways animals have evolved to turn leg power into forward motion.
It’s a short, fun talk, and rather nicely makes the point that the secret to success for many of nature’s creations resides not in sensing or intelligence, but in good mechanical design. The nice thing about this is that nature’s mechanical innovations are much easier to duplicate than her neurological ones. The talk ends with examples of robotic applications, such as Boston Dynamics’ cockroach-inspired RHex and Stanford’s gecko-inspired climbing robots.
Hat tip: Milan