Biomechanical Study of Serpentine Locomotion

  • Yoji Umetani
  • Sigeo Hirose
Part of the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences book series (CISM, volume 201)


The snake, in spite of its simple shape, can be considered to be a versatile robot having various functions. The authors are greatly intrigued by this fact, and believe that its biomechanical study will be instructive to design a new snake-like vehicle.

This paper deals with the kinematical analysis of the serpentine movement of snakes, zoological experiments for verifying the theory, and a mechanical model produced for designing snake-like vehicles for use as a robot.


Normal Force Tangential Force Biomechanical Study Antagonistic Muscle Zoological Experiment 
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    MOSAUER W.,“Locomotion of snakes and its anatomical basis„ Ph.D. Thesis, University of Michigan, 1931, pp. 117–147.Google Scholar
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    RASHEVSKY N.,“Mathematical Biophysics„ Vol. II, Dover Publ., Inc., N.Y., 1962, pp 256–261.Google Scholar
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    GRAY J.,“Animal locomotion„ 1968, Norton, pp. 166–193.Google Scholar
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    UMETANI Y.,“Kinematics and control mechanisms of serpentine movement — Part II. Analysis and experiment by a model„ BIOMECHANISM, University of Tokyo Press, Tokyo, 1972, pp. 243–251.Google Scholar
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    UMETANI Y., HIROSE S.,“Biomechanical study on serpentine locomotion — Mechanical analysis and zoological experiment for the stationary straightforward movement„—, Trans. S.c. Instrument & Control Engrs., 8, 6, 1972, pp. 724–731.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yoji Umetani
    • 1
  • Sigeo Hirose
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Physical EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Tokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan

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