What does robotics have to do with the walking of insects? Actually, quite a bit. Roboticists have a strong
interest in building robots that can walk, because robots with legs can go where those with wheels cannot, such as into structurally
damaged buildings for search and rescue missions, or on rugged terrain or off planet for exploration. For an engineer designing the
control system for a walking robot, one of the biggest challenges is to devise a way for the legs to move properly while at the same
time making sure that their movements are flexible enough to adapt to the specific surface on which the robot is walking.
In principle, this is the same problem faced by an insect or other walking animal. How can the legs be moved properly to achieve a smoothly
coordinated gait, while at the same time allowing the flexibility of adjusting movements and foot placement as circumstances warrant? This
is the important question.
From this point of view, roboticists are interested in animal, especially insect, walking because it may provide information that will
help them to develop better controllers for their machines. Neurobiologists, on the other hand, may find that trying to design a
flexible controller for a walking robot will help them think about what the nervous system must have to do in order to achieve the