Friday, March 28, 2008
Animals Inspire Amazing Robots
If you are going to make a robot, what better way than to copy natures perfect designs that have developed over billions of years? But it's not easy to find out how natures designs really work, it takes a lot of research.
The Boston based Boston Dynamics have created the BigDog, a quadruped robot that can run, walk and climb through rough terrain with a heavy load on its back. BigDog looks more or less like a dog without a head, and it movements are much like a dogs or a horses.
BigDogs legs have compliant elements that allows it to absorb the legs shock absorption energy, that otherwise would be lost, and recycle it to create the next step.
It is amazing how much energy the legs produce to slow the legs down when walking, and there is much new technology taking advantage of this. A good example is the cell phone charger, which will allow us to recharge our cell phones just by walking.
One of Boston Dynamics' other robots, RiSE, can climb vertical surfaces like trees, walls and fences. To create RiCE they used technology made by studying how geckoes and roaches move and use their feet. See Robert Fulls TED Talk video, which I have written a bit about in an earlier article, to get very fascinating details on what their studies revealed, and how they used these finds to create RiSE.
Boston Dynamics also have also made the RHex robot that can move almost anywhere.
Via Have You Seen This?