Spherical Soft Robots Use Shape Memory Alloys

Spherical soft robots that move by changing their shape with shape-memory alloy wire are under development at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. I was really interested in seeing these robots, having written about the earlier circular soft robots developed by the same team (see Soft Robot Powered By Shape Memory Alloy Spokes).

In the comments to that article, reader coucou astutely asked "couldn't it be extended to a sphere? A ball rolling in any direction ...". And that's exactly what they did - take a look at the spherical soft robot video below.


(Spherical Soft Robots video)

Researchers Yuuta Sugiyama and Shinichi Hirai of the Department of Robotics at Ritsumeikan University, writing in their paper, describe how a soft spherical robot can also crawl and jump.

"...we employ soft actuators to controllably deform a robot body, enabling it to crawl and jump on rough terrain. Self-deformation of the robot body generates the spatial gradient of the gravitational potential energy of the robot crawling on the ground. By charging the elastic potential energy in the robot's deformable body and releasing it rapidly, the robot generates enough impulse to make it jump. Crawling and jumping by deformation enables the robot to be used over terrain too rough for rigid body robots. Additionally, soft-body deformation reduces the risk of injury should the body collide with humans."

Science fiction fans may be thinking that this technology could serve as the basis for the Rovers, the surveillance guardians from the Sixties television series The Prisoner.

Update: 21-Oct-2016: The first time I read about the idea of a shape memory alloy was in Samuel R. Delany's 1966 novel Babel-17; see the entry for tensile memory polarized matter. End update.

From Crawling and Jumping by a Deformable Robot via Botjunkie. Also, take a look at the researcher's Crawling and jumping soft robots page.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/11/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.' - Harry Harrison, 1956.

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

Cassie 'Halfbot' Best Half (Lower) Of Humanoid Robot
We can always make it limp along if it gets threatening.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Made In Space To Manufacture Optical Fiber In Orbit
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.