Rotundus And Rover: Robotic And Fictional Guardians (Updated)

The Rotundus robot is a rather unusual spherical bot that moves using an internal pendulum. The robot was originally designed for planetary exploration at the Ångström Space Technology Center, part of Uppsala University, Sweden. It is a sealed ball with no external moving parts exposed to regolith or vacuum. Now, the designer is repurposing it for security duty here on Earth.


(From Rotundus)

Here's how it works:

There are two main principles to get a ball rolling on its own - to rotate a mass inside the ball or to displace its centre of mass.

In order to move the pendulum is lifted in the direction of travel, the centre of mass gets displaced in front of contact point between the ball and the ground and the ball starts rolling.

Turning is accomplished by moving the pendulum to either side.
(From Rotundus technology)


(Rotundus internal diagram)

The finished version of the Rotundus robot will navigate using an internal GPS sensor and will be navigable by a remote operator. Ultimately, the goal is to make it an autonomous robot that can patrol a perimeter, or go practically anywhere a person could go. The robot operates equally well on sidewalks, sand or snow. On a hard surface, the robot can achieve speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

Update 21-Jan-2009: Take a look at this Rotundus spherical robot video.

End update.

I saw this story about the Rotundus security robot prototype about a month ago, but I couldn't quite think of what it reminded me of. Thanks to an alert reader, I've got it! The Rovers from the late 1960's sci-fi television series The Prisoner were security balls of various sizes.


(The Rover seeks its prey)

In the television show, the Rovers were living creatures modeled to some extent on blowfish. They could alter their size and were equipped with toxins that could incapacitate prisoners who tried to escape (they would give chase to the fastest moving living creature). They could run faster than a man, just like the Rotundus robot. They also served as eyes and ears for the Village monitors. They were adapted for different environments, including undersea use.

Also, in the early 1980's supermacromation series The Terrahawks, spherical robots called Zeroids were used to fight the evil witch-like alien Zelda.


(Sargeant Major Zero and Zeroid 18)

The Rotundus robot could also be considered a land-based version of copseyes, a spherical security robot introduced by science fiction writer Larry Niven in his 1972 story Cloak of Anarchy. Copseyes were golden spheres that floated off the ground; they had security cameras and stunners to spot and stop rule-breakers (repectively). (Update 19-Nov-2006: See also the Robot Probes (Arr-twos) from Niven and Pournelle's 1981 novel Oath of Fealty.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/14/2005)

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 ( 7 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...' HG Wells, 1898.

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...' - Henry Slesar, 1958.

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...' - Harry Harrison, 1958.

 

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

Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'

Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'

Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'

Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
'It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time.'

A Floating Cosmodrome
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.'

First Artificial Memory Formed In Animals
'Is an extra-factual memory that convincing?' Quail asked.

Maintain Your Megastructure
Megastructures have repair robots, which have repair robots, ad infinitum.

Venezuelans Teaching Your Self-Driving Car
‘She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...’

Robothread Robotic Worms Crawling Through Your Brain
Perfect for clot-busting in the human brain. No Raquel Welch and no lasers, though.

Vantablack BMW X6 Is Douglas Adams Approved
'It's so... black!' said Ford Prefect.

Humanoid Robot's Muscles Biomimic Ours
'It is remarkable that the long leverages of their machines are in most cases actuated by a sort of sham musculature...'

Animatronic Robotic Baby Exposed
'The birth of Machine, my robot child...'

Beijing HaiDiLao Robotic Hotpot Restaurant Now Flavored By Artificial Intelligence
'Kantos Kan led me to one of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus.'

Plants of the Future - What Should They Be Like
'He almost choked in his astonishment. Mashed potatoes and brown gravy!'

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

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.