Thursday October 11, 2018

Mochibot Has 32 Legs

Giant hexapods may be impressive, but Japanese researchers are looking to one up that. "Mochibot" has they call it, uses 32 extendable legs to roll around on surfaces. Advanced software is used to plot the path of the contraption, which you can see for yourself in the video below:

Mochibot's big advantage over a tensegrity robot is that it can move smoothly and continuously in any direction you like by altering its shape. This gives it an advantage over wheeled exploration robots as well, since all directions can be optimal for movement, rather than just forward and backward. The designers also suggest that Mochibot is better at dealing with deformable terrain like sand or loose rock, because its method of rolling locomotion is much less traction dependent. And if something does go wrong with one of the legs, well, you've got 31 others backing you up, so no big deal. For applications like planetary exploration or disaster response, Mochibot has the potential to be a versatile platform. It's highly mobile, very redundant, and looks like it could manage a hefty science payload. The next step is to experiment with different kinds of terrain, making sure that Mochibot can roll itself up and down slopes and over rocks and gullies without any problems.

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