If ever any sci-fi robot form-factor made more sense than the Droideka of the Star Wars franchise, we’re not sure what it could be. Able to transform from a spheroid that rolls quickly onto the battlefield into a blaster-bristling tripodal walker, the Hollywood battle droid showed a lot of imagination and resulted in a remarkably feasible design. And now that basic design is demonstrated in a spherical quadrupedal robot that can transform from rolling to walking.
Intended as a proof of concept of a hybrid rolling-walking locomotion system, the QRoSS robot from Japan’s Chiba Institute of Technology is capable of some pretty amazing things already. Surrounded by a wire roll cage that’s independent of the robot’s legs, QRoSS is able to roll into position, unfurl its legs, and walk where it needs to go. Four independent legs make it sure-footed over rough terrain, with obvious applications in such fields as urban search and rescue; a hardened version could be tossed into a collapsed building or other dangerous environment and walk around to provide intelligence or render aid. The robot’s self-righting feature would be especially handy for that use case, and as you can see in the video below, it has a powered rolling mode that’s six times faster than its walking speed.
For a similar spherical transforming robot, be sure to check out the MorpHex robot with its hexapod design.
10 thoughts on “Spherical Robot Rolls Then Walks Into Action”
I’m holding out for the full Johnny Quest Spider Robot
Interesting concept. Could very useful for disaster recovery scenarios or even reconnaissance once they figure out the outer shell cost/strength ratio.
All I see is a legged robot, housed in a ball, that can detect its orientation. I don’t believe it has the capability to roll itself. The initial part of the video looks like someone rolled it down the hallway.
Maybe I should watch the entire video… :)
Does this remind anyone else of the omnidroid from Pixar’s Incredibles?
YES! I knew there was another film robot out there that this reminded me of!
The motors are geared steppers?
Looks like low-cost servos to me.
You missed its most important potential application: Exploring my living room floor for my entertainment
Love this thing!
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