We have developed several innovative designs for a new kind of robot that uses a continuous wave of peristalsis for locomotion, the same method that earthworms use. Because constant-velocity peristaltic waves form due to accelerating and decelerating segments, it has been often assumed that this motion requires strong anisotropic ground friction. However, our analysis shows that with uniform, constant velocity waves, the forces that cause accelerations within the body sum to zero. Instead, transition timing between aerial and ground phases plays a critical role in the amount of slippage, and the final robot speed.
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