Mexican Jumping Beans May Influence Robot Design

Most animals move around by using their appendages, such as legs, wings, or fins. But a few exceptional creatures employ rolling as a mode of locomotion. Included in this group are rolling salamanders, spiders, caterpillars, and Mexican jumping beans. In a new study, researchers have investigated the seemingly random motion of Mexican jumping beans, which are not actually beans but hollow seeds containing moth larva, and found that their motion is not entirely random. The researchers developed an algorithm of the beans’ behavior, which they then used to program rolling robots to move in a controlled direction.

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