Biomimicry has taken us far in robotics. There’s the snake. There’s the mechanized pack animal. There’s the birds, and the bees, and the fleas. And on and on. It makes sense that we would, in constructing our autonomous animals, imitate the highly evolved species of the natural world.
Except … when it doesn’t. Sometimes robots are at their most effective when they’re self-consciously unnatural.
Case in point: the Super Ball Bot. Which is the machine’s actual name.
An ingenious approach to robot design. They’ve built something with such flexibility in movement that they have to algorithmically evolve its control mechanics just to operate it, theoretically giving them a system with a baked-in robustness you couldn’t achieve otherwise.