Vibrating Robots Love Sliding into Tubes

05.17.10 8 years ago 3 Comments

Wonk-Eye Cat reads the double entendre headline.  And the side banner.

The geniuses at the Biorobotics lab and Manipulation lab at Carnegie Mellon University have come up with an awesome new design for a vibrating robot that can climb up different-sized circular and square tubes.  It can travel at a speed of 20 times its body length per second (holy crap) and carry five times its own weight.  Somewhere an ant just crapped its little ant pants.  You’ve been usurped, ant.  Also, who gave you pants?  You’re an ant.  That’s just silly.

Its simple motor turns an unbalanced mass at a uniform velocity. As the mass swings around, it causes the robot to bounce back and forth between the tube walls. Two rubber o-rings let the researchers specify the exact contact points and increase friction with the walls.  [IEEE Spectrum via NextBigFuture]

Previous dynamic climbing bots have used bristles to create anisotropic friction, making the bot travel in the direction with less friction.  Getting it back out of the tube was a problem with these robots.  This new design doesn’t use anisotropic friction, as you can see in the video below, which was the winner for best video at ICRA this month.  Really?  Man, just wait till IEEE gets a load of our animated videos.  We’ll sweep the competition next year with our design for a microbot that removes pants from ants, because that sh*t needs to stop immediately.

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