Robots come in all shapes and sizes: familiar-lookinghumanoids; riffs on animals; and mundane looking service bots. But they also come in more bizarre forms.
This chain-like motorised creation certainly falls into the latter category.
Dubbed ‘Ourobot’ the robot, which is made of 12 different motorised sections, has been created by computer engineering students from the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Germany.
A video produced by the university shows the robot facing a small step and navigating its way over it. No small feat considering that stairs have long been the nemesis of clumsy robots.
Pressure sensors in each of the robot’s ‘links’ are able to detect obstacles it’s facing and then move over them. Each individual connection on the robot how they work in tandem requires “complex” mathematics, its creators explained.
“At the moment Ourobot can only move straight ahead and cannot manage curves yet, but its sensors can detect obstacles, such as a book, and can traverse them,” says Jan Paskarbeit from the university’s applied sciences lab.
The research team behind the project have also developed conceptdesigns that would allow it to turn corners. The proposed designs involve connecting two of the machines together, which would allow them to control the direction of travel.
“There is no concrete application for Ourobot at the moment. It is a feasibility study, meaning basic research,” Schneider said.
It may eventually be used to help develop further roboticapplications though. The technologies, and mathematical theories that underlie them, may be used in other robots. Schneider said it would be ideal to develop a robot that “actively changes its form” and can further adapt to the world around it.