[Technology Frontier] Flexible Robotics "Xiaoqiang"

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have been inspired to create a flexible " robot " that can withstand pressure, reduce body shape, and penetrate into gaps. It may be used for disaster detection in the future.

The reason why 蟑螂 is called "Xiaoqiang" is partly due to its strong vitality.受 In the laboratory test, the force is equivalent to 900 times the weight, but will not be injured. Robert Fur, a professor of integrated biology at the University of California at Berkeley, observed 25 years ago that the American cockroach can travel at speeds of nearly 1.5 meters per second, which is 50 times the length of the body.

Fuer hosted a laboratory in the school called “Multi-disciplinary Animal Mobility, Kinetics and Mechanics Laboratory”. Over the years, he observed animals such as crickets, crabs and geckos walking, running, jumping, crawling and sliding, and exploring their movements. The basic principles of biomechanics embodied in the process to improve robot design.

The American lynx gave inspiration to Kasik Jayaram, who was pursuing a Ph.D. in this lab. The picture taken by the high-speed camera shows that it is between two “plywoods”. When the deck is about 1.27 cm apart and is equivalent to “height”, the dragonfly walks freely; when the interval is adjusted to 0.6 cm, far lower than the height, 蟑螂Still running at full speed; when the interval is only 0.25 cm, they will squeeze their bodies between the splints and force them through.

Jayaram believes that in a small space or in a gap, the legs and feet of the beggar are restricted by the orientation and cannot function properly. When moving, they have to use other parts of the body. Specifically, in the squeezed state, the cockroach with the sensation of the bristles on the shackles rubs against the splint and pushes itself.

Based on these observations, Jayaram designed the robot, named "Compressible Belt Joint Construction Robot" (CRAM), which is the same size as the human palm. When pressed up and down, the "legs and legs" can be opened to the sides.

However, compared with sputum, this robot is inferior to the squeezing ability, and its height can only be reduced to half of the normal "height".

The robot is crafted like a manual origami, simple and cost-effective, and is currently being packaged by a company owned by the University of California at Berkeley for robotics to assemble.

Jayram and Fuer published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. In the occasion of tornadoes, earthquakes and explosions, most of the existing robots cannot enter the ruins, and flexible robots can pass unimpeded, helping to find out whether the area is located. Stable and safe, find the location of the survivor and determine the rescuer's access path.

Fuer said that insects are ubiquitous and can be said to be the "most successful animals" on the planet. Using insects can make robots have similar capabilities. The robots that borrowed from me are just prototypes, but they show the feasibility of developing flexible robots in a new direction.

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