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SpaceHopper Microgravity Robot Lands On Its Feet

The SpaceHopper robot is a clever project from ETH Zurich:

As a team of ten students, we developed a legged robot designed for microgravity environments. Our robot is able to demonstrate the key capabilities necessary for microgravity locomotion. The development of SpaceHopper continues, and one-day, SpaceHopper might explore the surface of asteroids.

I love the SpaceHopper idea; of course, there are precedents in science fiction for the idea of three-legged robots of various kinds.

Consider the spider tripod robot from Rendezvous with Rama, the 1972 Arthur C. Clarke classic novel:

Ten metres away was a slender-legged tripod surmounted by a spherical body no larger than a football. Set around the body were three large, expressionless eyes, apparently giving 360 degrees of vision, and trailing beneath it were three whiplike tendrils. The creature was not quite as tall as a man, and looked far too fragile to be dangerous, but that did not excuse their carelessness in letting it sneak up on them unawares. It reminded Norton of nothing so much as a three-legged spider, or daddy-long-legs, and he wondered how it had solved the problem - never challenged by any creature on Earth - of tripedal locomotion.
(Read more about Clarke's spider tripod robot)

You (and possibly ETH Zurich students) might also take a look at a previous robot, the Rotopod Rotational Legged Locomotion Robot and the STriDER Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/22/2024)

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