As a snake moves, its scales grip the ground and propel the body forward -- similar to how crampons help hikers establish footholds in slippery ice. This so-called friction-assisted locomotion is possible because of the shape and positioning of snake scales. A team of researchers has developed a soft robot that uses those same principles of locomotion to crawl without any rigid components. The soft robotic scales are made using kirigami -- an ancient Japanese paper craft that relies on cuts, rather than origami folds, to change the properties of a material. As the robot stretches, the flat kirigami surface is transformed into a 3-D-textured surface, which grips the ground just like snake skin.
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