Flexible legless robots with enhanced jumping capabilities • The Register

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Those of us who fear being enslaved by robot lords in the future may have one more reason not to sleep at night: Engineers have shown that a few of the legless and pliable models do serious progress.

The pancake-like animated droids have demonstrated their ability to perform a series of flops in a way their creators – China-based soft robotics engineers – describe as “a rapid, continuous, and directed leap.”

“Jumping is an important locomotion function for extending navigation range, overcoming obstacles and adapting to unstructured environments,” said Rui Chen of Chongqing University and Huayan Pu of Shanghai University.

Youtube video

Weighing 1 gram and measuring 6.5 cm in length, the directional tiddlywinks – whose movements resemble those of a stingray – have an internal structure that allows them to jump forward, fed by a flexible and electric redistribution of liquid. .

According to research article published in Nature Communications, each device can jump 7.68 times its own body height. They can also achieve a continuous forward jump speed of six body lengths per second.

Mechanized cowpats are able to overcome obstacles such as slopes, cables, shaped cubes, and – as if humanity thought they could provide the last remnants of the sanctuary – mounds of gravel.

The researchers paired two dialectical fluid pump actuators that create a jerky wander that can change direction at a rate of 138.4Ëš per second.

What’s the point of all of this – other than providing a unique addition to a catalog of doomsday images? The increased ability to jump (both higher and more frequently) is important in the field of soft robotics because it greatly improves the robot’s ability to overcome obstacles. Chen and his co-authors show that sensors can be integrated into actuators for various applications such as “sensing environmental changes”.

In this way, the devices could be “applied to detect and record environmental changes such as temperature and ultraviolet light by attaching a light and soft temperature sensor / paste and photochromic dyes,” say the authors.

While current designs are wired to experimental devices for power and control, researchers promise more work to develop an unattached device. If that wasn’t enough, they also aim to enrich their findings by researching other forms of soft droid research, such as robot climbers, robot swimming, and robots with flapping wings. Be ready. ®


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