This ‘Caterpillar’ Robot Climbs Up Its Own Track and Can Be Used for Search and Rescue
This is a Reconfigurable Continuous Track Robot (RCTR). It’s a caterpillar-looking minimalist robot that alters its shape to accommodate whatever terrain or obstacles that it may encounter to determine its path. Its treads allow it to climb and skip objects, or gaps. This is due to its use of an additional actuator, or operating mechanism that enables the robot to “build its track in the air.”
Created by David Zarrouk, the director of the Bio-inspired and Medical Robotics Laboratory, the clever process behind this bot is created by having flexible links that move across the actuator. These links are equipped with pins that “lock-in.” Zarrouk’s research emphasizes “modeling and developing original robots with unique mechanisms that allow for simple and efficient control.” In addition to crawling robots, Zarrouk and his team are also “developing unique serial robotic mechanisms for space, agricultural, search & rescue and medical applications.”
These adaptable robots include: The 1STAR robot that embodies the “one step forward three steps back effect” using numerical simulations. It’s a minimally actuated continuous track robot using 2-3 motors. It can climb over obstacles and pass over objects without touching them. This is ideal for search and rescue applications, agriculture, pipe inspection, industrial maintenance, etc.
The amphibious STAR (AmphiSTAR) is “an innovative high-speed palm-sized robot fitted with a sprawling system and propellers at its bottom.” This allows it to crawl at a high speed of 3.5 m/s or hover and run over water at 1.5 m/s. Inspired by cockroaches and a basilisk lizard, the 20cm robot can crawl over gravel, mud, dirt, grass, and concrete.
The MASR is “a minimalistic (overly-redundant) serial robot which has passive joints that can be actuated by a movable motor.” Based on a simple planning algorithm, it has fewer motors, electronics, and wiring, which is cost-effective and lighter. It’s ideal for search and rescue, agricultural, space, maintenance, cleaning, and other applications.
The Sprawl-tuned autonomous robot (or STAR) is an innovative robot with a variable leg sprawl angle. It’s fitted with spoke wheel-like legs that offer high electromechanical conversion efficiency. It can tackle rough surfaces and obstacles using a high sprawl angle and almost wheel-like performance over smooth surfaces for small sprawl angles.
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