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In this project a snake-like robot made with variable stiffness actuator is modeled, realized and tested. Starting from a biological study of the snake locomotion and the state of art on snake-like robot, a mathematical planar model is derived. Exploiting the variable stiffness of the actuators, a test of locomotion inside a pipe and simple obstacle avoidance are made.

Inspired by biological snake locomotion, snake robots carry the potential of meeting the growing need for robotic mobility in unknown and challenging environments. These mechanisms typically consist of serially connected joint modules capable of bending in one or more planes. The many degrees of freedom of snake robots make them difficult to control, but provide versatility in irregular environments that surpasses the mobility of the more conventional wheeled, tracked and legged types of robots.


For the experiments in this work, we built our snake robot with 12 Variable Stiffness Actuator (VSA) qbmove maker pro, by qbrobotics.

The implementation of control scheme was made with Matlab/Simulink soft- ware.

On future, with the new version of VSA, which allows us to give more perfor- mance, the vertical wave might be controlled with only feedforward command, that is a more “natural” solution to control this kind of system. Moreover, an improvement of the snake model could concern the deep analysis of the friction phenomena, but it is difficult, because friction change with the environment too.


Tommaso Del Fiol

Lorenzo Morandi

Manuel G. Catalano

Giorgio Grioli

Manolo Garabini

Antonio Bicchi




Centro E. Piaggio

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia




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