Nov, 2021 - By SMI
Newly built swarms of four-legged robots can work together to lift objects and cross obstacles by linking their bodies together when traversing across a complex terrain.
Currently existing swarms of ground-based robots are restricted to simple terrain as they lack locomotor capabilities that are required for traversing across difficult terrains. Asst. Prof. Yasemin Ozkan-Aydin from University of Notre Dame built a batch of 3D-printed four-legged robots that could be someday used as search and rescue bots. Inspiration behind these robots was biological system, collective behaviors of honeybees, ants and birds. These quadruped robots can step up and step over obstacles when traversing on complex terrain.
While building these robots, Ozkan-Aydin thought of physically connecting them together to improve the mobility of the ground-based quadruped robots. each of these robots are of 15 to 20 cm in length, and are integrated with lithium-polymer battery, a light sensor in front, a microprocessor, a magnet sensor in front and the rear. When they were put on a test having obstacles in the way such as wooden blocks, the robot sent wireless signal to other bots nearby. When other robots arrived, using their magnetic touch sensors they found their alignment with respect to each other and linked their bodies together forming a chain. This helps them to form a bridge to cross a gap or a train to climb an obstacle. Moreover, these robots can work together to carry larger and heavier objects.
The Asst. Prof. Ozkan-Aydin explained, how these robots still need improvements in collaborative abilities, sensitivity and battery power of these four legged robotic system. They may also be used for space exploration, studying the environment or dynamics of insects such as termites and ants.
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