Six-Legged Sand Crawling Robot May Explore Mars
A radical new robot design may change what the next generation of Mars rovers looks like.
The six-legged robot was designed to crawl over sand like a lizard, using its C-shaped legs.
The team of Daniel Goldman, a physicist of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Chen Li, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and Tingnan Zhang, a graduate student in Goldman’s lab, studied how “terradynamics” (aerodynamics and hydrodynamics for land) could help a robot traverse loose ground.
“Figuring this out is an even more difficult problem than studying movement through fluids,” the team wrote in the study. “The complexity of the interactions with such ‘flowable ground’ may rival or even exceed that during movement in fluids.”
The team tested a number of different shapes for the small robot’s legs that would allow it to traverse a number of different terrains. Developing an all-terrain rover would mean that we could send a robot to explore any part of Mars without fear of it getting stuck. That fate met the six-wheeled Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in 2009, when its wheels were caught in loose Martian soil, ending its 7.7 kilometer trek and ending its mission.
Wheels are by far the most efficient robotic locomotive configuration, but wheeled robots are prone to getting stuck in loose ground. Legged robots are much more manoeuvrable, but suck way more power, and use much more complex systems to work, requiring more joints and motors. This also means that they are much more prone to malfunction; malfunctions that are unfixable from 140 million miles away.
Goldman’s team’s latest robot is an update on the design featured in a 2009 study published in the Preceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The 2009 robot, named “SandBot” featured a 30-centimeter-long body, weighed 2.3 kilograms and was designed to traverse granular surfaces, specifically a 2.4 meter track lined with poppy seeds. The robot also featured six “C-limbs” shaped like apostrophes.
What the researchers learned from the first SandBot, and used in the current version, was that slowing the robot’s leg movements ensured greater control on the unstable ground, and made the poppy seeds act more like a solid surface.
The C-shaped legs on the SandBot allowed it to generate larger lift on the granular surface, as well as reduce body drag. But most importantly, unlike the straighter legs also tested on the robot, they didn’t sink into the sand-like surface.
For a video of SandBot in action, check out New Scientist.
Meet Shimon, The Robot That Can Write And Play Its Own Music
Shimon was originally developed by Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology. Under its original programming, the robot was capable of improvising music as it played alongside human performers.
NASA’s Mars Rover Is As Cool As The Batmobile SUV
NASA unveiled a concept for a Mars Rover and it looks a lot like the Batmobile.
Avoid The Stress Of Parking, Giant Robots Will Do The Work For You
The automated valet service has the ability to stack up to five vehicles on a single line which, the start-up firm Stanley Robotics argues, dramatically improves the efficiency of car parking.
Robots Can Be The Best CEO In 30 Years, Jack Ma Says
Business professionals, technologists, economists, politicians, and just about anybody with a job is wrestling with how the emergence of advanced artificial intelligence and complex robotics are going to change the world in which we live.
This Is How A Trip To Mars Can Give You Leukemia; NASA-Backed Study Reveals
Considering that a lot of space enthusiasts are very much eager to explore the red planet, how can a trip to Mars give a person potential health risks? What’s the truth behind claims that the radiation on Mars can result to leukemia? Here’s what experts have to say
MORE IN ITECHPOST
How Scars are Formed and How to Remove It
Scar formation is a result of a biological process in skin after an injury or trauma. It is formed when the dermis layer of the skin is damaged. It is our body's way to repair tissues and organs and is a natural part of the healing process. A scar tissue is composed of the same type of collagen it is replacing with. Scars lacks elasticity compared to normal tissue. There are different degrees of scarring depending on the injury the tissue is subjected to.
Apple Pushes to Have its Own 5G Network Modem in iPhones by the Year 2022
Currently, Apple is racing with time in creating its very own 5g network modem. The company recently announced that it is aiming to have the modem available for iPhones by 2022.
Black Holes Stunt Growth of Dwarf Galaxies
UC Riverside astronomers find large-scale winds associated with active black holes in small galaxies suppress star formation
Top Lego Video Games This 2019
Almost every year, LEGO releases a game better than the previous one. Nonetheless, a number of these LEGO video games are timeless and remarkable even after so many years.