RISE Robot: Six-Legged BIODYNOTICS Runaway

RISE robots, creepy six-legged automatons, are climbing trees, fences and walls of all kinds, funded by our friends from DARPA.


(RISE robot climbs a vertical brick wall)

These Robots In Sensorial Environments are being developed by researchers from Carnegie Mellon, in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, U.C. Berkeley, Lewis & Clark University, and BostonDynamics Inc. (Those guys from BostonDynamics have been busy; check out how they're doing with their BigDog military robot.)

These robots appear to climb practically anything they can get a grip on with claws or sticky pads. Each leg is powered by two electric motors; an onboard computer controls leg motion, services sensors and handles communication with handlers. RISE robots change posture depending on the curvature of the climbing surface; a fixed tail helps on steep ascents. RISE robots are about 0.25 meters long and weigh in at 2 kg. The maximum travel speed is about 0.3 m/sec.


(RISE robot climbs a smooth wall)

The RISE robots are chillingly similar to the sinister killing robots from the 1984 film Runaway, starring Tom Selleck and (bizarrely) Gene Simmons from the rock group KISS playing the maniacal bad guy. Michael Crichton wrote and directed this unjustly neglected movie.


(Killer-Spider-Robots attack Tom Selleck in Runaway)

In the film, robots perform practically every function you can think of in the home, office and industry. However, every so often one of these bots would go postal - and that's when they'd call the Runaway team - a special police unit that would bring them under control. Eventually, killer-spider-robots that can climb trees, fences or walls start to appear, spitting acid and electricuting victims, and who will stop them? DARPA had better be putting some sort of master control switch on those RISE robots...

Update 22-Feb-2007:Take a look at the RISE robot in action in this RISE robot video. (End update.)

If you liked these little RISE guys, you'll love the European Space Agency's Robotic Space Spiders and the crustacean clockwork Robot Crabs. See the creepy RISE robot video and read a bit more about it. Thanks to Winchell Chung for putting the reference together and providing the story tip. (You, too, can contribute stories to Technovelgy by contacting me here.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/9/2006)

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