SAMBA is a multidisciplinary laboratory run at SISSA - International School for Advanced Studies through a collaboration between the Applied Mathematics and the Cognitive Neuroscience groups. The research activity of the laboratory currently comprises the following topics:

  • experimental and computational study of model locomotors on solid and viscous substrates;
  • computational modeling of the dynamics of rat whiskers;
  • experimental study of tactile sensing in robotic hands.

As an example of the experimental activity, we show a prototype robotic crawler exploiting directional, frictional interactions with a groove-textured substrate. A SMA spring drives the reciprocal shape-changes of the system, whereas the directionality of the interactions arises from the inclination of flexible, elastic bristles. At each stretching cycle the crawler advances leftwards by a quantity proportional to its shortening and limited by the flexibility of the bristles.