In a remarkable breakthrough, researchers from Osaka University's Department of Mechanical Science and Bioengineering have unveiled an innovative walking robot that capitalizes on dynamic instability for efficient locomotion. By manipulating the flexibility of its couplings, the robot achieves turns without the reliance on intricate computational control systems. This pioneering work holds promise for the development of rescue robots capable of navigating uneven terrains with ease.While animals on Earth have evolved robust legged locomotion systems that enable exceptional mobility across diverse environments, attempts to replicate this approach in legged robots have often encountered fragility issues. The strain of repetitive stress on a single leg can severely hamper the functionality of these robots, posing a significant challenge.Moreover, the control of numerous joints required for maneuvering legged robots in complex environments demands substantial computational power. Enhancements in this regard would greatly benefit the construction of autonomous or semi-autonomous robots deployed for exploration and rescue operations in hazardous areas.Drawing inspiration from nature, scientists at Osaka University have developed a biomimetic "myriapod" robot that exploits the inherent instability to convert straight walking into curved motion. In their recent study published in Soft Robotics, the researchers present their creation, a six-segment robot with two legs attached to each segment and flexible joints. The couplings' flexibility can be adjusted during walking using motors connected to an adjustable screw.The team discovered that increasing the joints' flexibility induced a phenomenon known as "pitchfork bifurcation," destabilizing straight walking. Consequently, the robot transitioned into a curved gait, either to the right or left. While engineers typically aim to avoid instabilities, strategic utilization of controlled instability can remarkably enhance maneuverability."Our inspiration came from observing certain highly agile insects that skillfully exploit dynamic instability to swiftly change their movement," remarks Shinya Aoi, one of the study's authors. By controlling the flexibility instead of directly steering the body axis, the robot achieves significant reductions in computational complexity and energy requirements.Experimental results demonstrated the robot's ability to navigate specific locations by following curved paths towards targets. Mau Adachi, another author of the study, envisions diverse applications such as search and rescue operations, hazardous environment work, and exploration missions on extraterrestrial bodies. Future iterations of the robot may incorporate additional segments and control mechanisms, further enhancing its capabilities.