It’s no secret that we love bizarre robot locomotion, so we are naturally suckers for BALLU (YouTube link, also embedded below) the Bouyancy-Assisted Lightweight Legged Unit. The project started with a simple observation — walking robots are constrained by having to hold themselves up — and removing that constraint make success much easier. Instead of walking, BALLU almost floats and uses what little net weight it does have to push against the ground.
The legs are really just sticks that bend in the middle, with motors and cables that control the bend. Lift one leg up, and the center of gravity falls slowly toward that foot. Eventually stretching it back out provides forward force. That’s the gimmick, and the challenge lies in piloting the thing, and at the moment it looks to be run on remote control. It’s not going to be as simple as “turn-right-motor, bot turns left”, that’s for sure. And as the video demonstrates in its last few minutes, you don’t want to pit the thing up against a strong breeze.
[Thanks [Itay] for the tip! via Gizmodo]