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Is The OutRunner Robot Like Smartwheels?
A couple of weeks ago, I did a story on the cool SmartRunner Robot.
(Outrunner six-legged speedy robot)
But then a reader wrote in to mention the smartwheels from Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snowcrash:
Smartwheels use sonar, laser range finding and millimeter wave radar to identify mufflers and other debris. Each one consists of a hub with many tiny spokes. Each spoke telescopes into five sections. On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom, swiveling on a ball joint. As the wheel rolls, the feet plant themselves one at a time, almost glomming into one continuous tire. If you surf over a bump, the spokes contract to roll over it. If you surf over a pothole, the rubber prongs probe its asphalt depths...
I then reread the material on the OutRunner robot, and came across this tidbit:
"The device's legs are spring-loaded to emulate the actions of human muscles and tendons by storing and releasing energy throughout the gait."
I'm wondering if the OutRunner could have some smartwheel possibilities in the future...
Thanks to Patrick for writing in with a tip.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/29/2014)
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