XRHex robot uses a tail to always land on its feet

first_imgRobots are pesky things, they’re intelligent, often make our lives better, but they’re prone to falling over. To stop this, the Tailbot was invented: a robot that relies on a tail to control its balance.The creators of the Tailbot (UC Berkeley) and the creators of the RHex (University of Pennsylvania) have teamed up to make the X-RHex Lite (XRL for short). The difference between this robot and the original Tailbot is that the XRL is about 60 times bigger, weighing in at 8.1 kilograms compared to the tiny Tailbot which only weighed 177 grams.The tail is designed to work like it would on a lizard or cat, and it allows the robot to right itself when falling and fly through the air without crashing upon landing. Even when it’s dropped, the impact of landing doesn’t affect the XRL because its legs are springy and act like shock absorbers. It can therefore take quite a bit of punishment, and by always landing the right way up it saves on damage, and therefore the cost of repairing the unit.The XRL’s design on its own may be of limited use, but combining that tail system with other self-righting technology, e.g. a robot that can handle being flipped on its back or side, could make for a very versatile unit able to cope with many different terrains as well as handling free fall insertions flawlessly. That would make it of interest to a number of sectors including search and rescue, the armed forces, and possibly even to NASA when planning its next mission to explore the terrain on Mars.More at Kodlab via IEEE Spectrumlast_img read more