Sunday 9 February 2014

A robot spider that moves on its own thread!

Spider Robot
A group of researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, has developed a robot spider capable of moving in a vacuum vertically along a solid wire that fabricated from a thermoplastic adhesive. Such robots could be used for extraterrestrial exploration adapting to changing terrain. LiYu Wang, a member of the team, told in detail. The spider robot developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich moves vertically along a solid wire. It manufactures thereof at progressively from thermoplastic adhesive sticks which is heated and stretched. It can carry payloads up to 10.9 kg in its current configuration.

A team of researchers from Bio -Inspired Robotics Laboratory (BIRL) has unveiled this robot spider that produces itself a plastic wire which he uses to travel into space, vertical. In their scientific article published in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, they explain that the interest of this innovation is that it can be used to develop hybrid robots to land and air time capable of carrying payloads. Another advantage of the system is that the robot adapts the thickness of the wire according to the weight it carries.

The technical challenge with which the team had to deal BIRL was to ensure that the robot makes its wire while moving with only physical support of wire itself. It was therefore necessary to develop an autonomous system capable of producing the wire associated with a mechanism for moving and guiding. The robot weighs 185 grams to 18 cm tall, 5 wide and 3 thick. “The mechanical part includes mechanisms extrusion and pultrusion," says LiYu Wang, one of the researchers involved in the project , which is also a member of the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology). The technology uses the thermoplastic glue stick, the same as we use for other jobs.

The adhesive is heated to between 65 and 75 ° C to be extruded through a nozzle into a process similar to the spider secretion produced by the ampullary gland. A second phase: glue spots pultrusion be spun stretching and solidify upon contact with air according to Newton's law of thermodynamics. The robot is operated by two motors. The first serves to urge the glue stick through the heating system and the nozzle on a linear axis via a ball screw system. The second motor mechanism actuates the “deformation - locomotion”, which consists of two wheels of 12 mm diameter which will both stretch the wire while sliding the robot progressively. Everything is powered by two lithium -ion batteries.

In its current configuration, the robot can carry a maximum load of 10.9 kg moving at 12 inches per minute. The robot that spins a web like a spider "The advantage of this technology lies in its flexibility, which allows you to adjust the thickness of the wire so that the robot can adapt to different loads while remaining self-sufficient," says Wang LiYu. He also confirmed that the system could be replicated on larger robots by adapting the configuration of extrusion pultrusion accordingly. The next step for the team is to replace BIRL wheels legs, so that the robot can move on a solid surface, but also to switch over to another, like a spider on its web. The researchers believe that the solution would be to create legs inspired by the gecko with adhesive pads for grip. With this, the robot could then weave a fabric by forming vertical and horizontal on which it may then travel.

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