Aquabot Gets Around More Than You’d Think

This doesn’t have the flashy futuristic appeal that we’d like to see from high-tech robots, but this amphibious wanderer is well suited for it’s intended purpose. It was developed by researchers at the University of Minnesota to navigate mostly wet environments, collecting data about water quality as part of a distributed army of sensor bots.

The two little arms sticking out in front of it are made of carbon fiber and attached to servo motors inside. The video below the fold shows the trapezoidal body tumbling end-over end to get around. But the awkward, baby-turtle-like locomotion isn’t the only thing in its bag of movement tricks. It can also adjust its buoyancy to float, sink, or hover somewhere in the wet stuff.

To get a better look at what went into developing this, take a look at the Adelopod developed at UMN a couple of years back. We also embedded a video of that tumbling robot because they share the build details we’re always on the lookout for.





[via Engadget and io9]

12 thoughts on “Aquabot Gets Around More Than You’d Think

  1. I can see the military probably already making good use of this sort of technology in for instance surveillance operations to crawl, hide and listen extra. personally I think they would make great little cheep mine sweepers or terrain mappers (:

  2. -kb
    I was wondering that too myself. If I was going to do it ivwould most likely end up with some sort of gas filled displacement chamber squashed with a geared down servo or something similar (so as not to take compressed air down that could potentially run out -although the small canisters for fast inflation of bicycle tyres would be good for that)
    I suppose that hard bit would be making the system small enough. These things are not that large. Light waight though considering all the servos and power source. I’m wondering how long that lasts when it has to operate the control gear and four servos and any potential extras? Maybe solar for land based and some sort of fuel cell charging system for water based applications maybe a hood direction to go in?
    Would love to see these things deployed in mass from some sort of arial vehicle (:

  3. i am guessing it works like a sub. it has a water ballast tank. When it wants to sink it would take on water thus making it heaver and sink. When it wants to raise to the surface it will use compressed air in a separate tank push water out of the ballast thus making it lighter.

  4. nice,

    although this would give me the creeps if i saw it coming out of the water towards me.

    i didn’t see it ‘hovering’ in the video, it either sank or floated (ok, it kind of sat up a bit off the bottom). i guess its harder to get it to actually stay stationary somewhere in between.

  5. I hope it doesn’t come out of the water to head towards some mean domestic geese. Because it’s goose might be cooked. Wild geese may take off domestic geese stand their ground. Wouldn’t be great if they could mate, reproduce, free bots. Well on second thought, that could be the stuff a horror movie could be based on.

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