Spider robot to assist in trekking places considered potentially dangerous and inaccessible to human
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Germany have developed a spider robot that navigates mimicking the movement of a real spider. The 3D printed robot has been created to provide assistance in reaching places where human intervention is not possible or dangerous as in chemical/industrial accident sites.
Just like an actual specimen this robot moves using four pairs of legs wherein the movement is made possible by “hydraulic elastic drive bellows that operate pneumatically to bend and extend its artificial limbs. The components required for locomotion, such as the control unit, valves and compressor pump, are located in the robot‘s body; the body can also carry various measuring devices and sensors, depending on the application at hand. Hinges interoperate with the bellows drives so that the legs can move forward and turn as needed.”
As compared to other mobile robots that consume ample time, infrastructure and expenses in the manufacturing process, these spider bots are cost-effective solutions as each part can be easily produced with 3D printing technology saving time and effort. “Our robot is so cheap to produce that it can be discarded after being used just once – like a disposable rubber glove,“ Becker [scientist at IPA] points out.”