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LORIS Passive-Gripper Climbing Robot

LORIS (Lightweight Observation Robot for Irregular Slopes) climbs walls like a lizard - or like an alien tarantula.

The CMU team equipped LORIS with splayed microspine grippers at the end of its four legs. The bot also employs a passive wrist joint, allowing the grippers to respond to leg movements.

Through onboard depth sensing and a microprocessor, it strategically moves its legs so that grippers on opposing legs secure the climbing surface simultaneously, using an insect-inspired climbing tactic called directed inward grasping (DIG).

Robots equipped with microspine grippers are well-suited for ascending rocky cliff faces. These grippers release hooks when lifted for the next step. While passive microspine grippers rely on the robotís weight for grip, they excel on flat surfaces but face challenges on uneven cliffs, necessitating diverse climbing tactics.

(Via InterestingEngineering)

This robot is an interesting implementation of the idea of a "bush robot," a concept developed by Hans Moravec and Robert Forward. Ken MacLeod described a living creature, an alien tarantula, based on the same ideas:

Considered objectively, it's quite beautiful. Like a golden-furred tarantula, with tiny splayed hands at the ends of seven of its eight legs. Tiny eight-fingered hands, each a miniature of itself, as becomes evident when it skitters up the glass and walks upside down across the underside of the clamped-down glass slab on top. Matt gropes for a hand lens, peers through it as the animal repeats the manoeuvre. The brief flickering glimpse leaves no doubt. At the end of each appendage's eight fingers there are tinier appendages, eight of them, and these fingers' fingerlets are what open out to grasp the microscopic frictions of the pane.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/26/2024)

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