from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Robot designs often steal from nature. Roboticists have created all kinds of insect-inspired bots and bots based on birds, lizards and mammals. It's easy to see how these robots fit into our world because animals with similar silhouettes are already everywhere. But it's not so intuitive that biomimicry should work in the low gravity environment of space. Without any alien life forms to cheat off, it looks like we're going to try to find out how some bio-inspired robots adapt to extraterrestrial locations.
- An unmanned mission to explore the moon could include the use of an ape-like robot that can walk/crawl on the lunar surface. It looks cool, but a robot with four complex limbs doesn't seem to be the easiest bot to maintain in space. Keep It Simple, Scientists! [url]
- Norway's SINTEF Research Institute is developing a snake-like robot to explore the surface of Mars. A snake bot could team up with a conventional rover design and help the rover if its wheels ever get stuck in the sandy Martian landscape. [url]
- SpiderFab is a satellite-building concept where structures are built in space like a spider weaving its web. This kind of satellite construction would allow for larger and more complex designs, and assembling parts in space using a spider-inspired robot could be demonstrated in the next 3-4 years (optimistically). [url]