There are plenty of reasons for building robot animals — more than the reasons for building humanoid robots, in fact.
Many animal-shaped robots were developed specifically to try out design solutions based on what animals do. From the jumping mechanisms of fleas to the flexibility of octopi, robots inspired by animals are intended to bring the advantages of these species to the world of robots.
Check out a few of the bioengineering marvels researchers have tried:
Ending animal abuse
An automated elephant takes the place of a live elephant in a temple. Robobirds provide an alternative to shooting feathered fiends who attack agriculture. Just as automation can save people from dirty, dull, and dangerous work, automated animals can rescue living animals from hardships.
Being a companion animal may be in the category of dull jobs even if it’s not a form of abuse. A robotic dog, cat, or seal can be a companion to dementia patients.
Spying on animals doesn’t seem like an obvious use for robots, but in fact robotic creatures outfitted with cameras are helping researchers to observe animals without upsetting their routines.
The video above shows an example of a crab-shaped robot that spies on the coastline.
Some robotic animals are just for fun, but some have more serious goals.