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Scorpion Robot May Conquer other worlds

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 02:07 PM
Scientists associated with NASA have developed a walking planetary rover. The original article can be viewed at Nature's Site

Planetary rovers may soon have an eight-legged mechanized side-kick to help them explore distant planets. The Scorpion robot is able to descend steep cliffs, climb rough terrain, and squeeze into crannies that are inaccessible to larger, wheeled vehicles.

The dog-sized prototype is the brainchild of Frank Kirchner, a robotics specialist at the University of Bremen in Germany. It is currently being evaluated at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Walking robotics is a relatively new field, and engineers are taking cues from biology to give these machines versatile locomotive capabilities. The Scorpion, for example, moves by following an internally generated pattern based on the movement of its real-life counterparts. "The program has the flexibility to allow [the robot] to adapt to the environment," says Colombano. Essentially, he says, it has "reflexes that take over at the point when the motion is somehow obstructed".

The manoeuvring abilities of the Scorpion come at a price, however. The robot is too small to carry lots of power. "It needs to be connected to a larger robot that can provide it with power, or recharge it," says Colombano. Once this technical kink is ironed out, the Scorpion should aid complex roving missions.

While not mentioned specifically in this article the military application for this type of robot is certainly implied... or at least inferred by me.

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 12:24 AM
well, that's certainly freshing news. i mean that many times i have been told that a snake robot will be good for moon exploration. however, who thought that a scorpion robot would do a better job than the snake one.
i will read the original article later.

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 01:00 AM
I have always been a advocate of the Bug like walkers. Nature gave us such a great design if could make a walker that could do half of what a insect could it would be amazing.

I have to say thats a impressive walker. I really like the way it could sense if it was flipped over and just switch its legs around and walk on its back. Insects might not be able to do that but thats the beauty of robots.

I think something even smaller then this would be ideal for space exploration. Instead of one large walker or probe send a mini army of cheap ones. Or perhaps even better one large one with a little army of its own small solar walkers. That way the large one could act as the main brain and the tiny ones could be like remote sensors for it. Many small ones could cover a much larger area then just one big one.

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 01:23 AM
yes, indeed. unfortunately, you'll have to spend years of research to make this idea real, since this technology is very advanced and complex for us nowadays. therefore, we try to find alternatives that don't require lots of time of research and easier to develop. after all, time is money and so does nasa think.

few months ago, i had a lecture dealing with the problems and difficulties in launching robots to the space. it was one big and interesting lecture. if i knew where is my notebook, i would scan and post it here.

[edit on 15-2-2005 by rave18]

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 01:44 AM
I have built small solar walkers for less then a 100 bucks. It used only 2 motors not 24 like scorpion there, but mine didnt require any programing at all to learn to walk or avoid odjects. The tech is not that advanced this is nothing that comes close to matching a real insect but it can go places wheeled robots cant.

Small walkers could be made on the cheap right now compared to the millions they spend at present to make Robots like Pathfinder or Spirt.

Heres a guy that wants to do just that now

[url=][/ur l]

This is the guy that created the basic concept I used to make my robots.

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 02:06 AM
hmmm, i think there's a logical reason why nasa prefers more the scorpion robots than the bug robots. in general, each robot has its own job to do in space, what brings us to the conclusion that each one should have a different form, which adjusts to its job. nevertheless, you can always apply your idea to nasa if you think that the bug robots can do the same things that the scorpions do and save either money or time.

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 02:19 AM
The scorpion robot is a walking bug robot which they dont use but that might be changing seeing that its designed for NASA. They used expensive wheeled rovers like the pathfinder or the two on mars right now.

And his design is currently being evaluated by NASA. Even NASA seems to be realizing that wheeled robots cant do everything they want done.

Scorpion might not be a 'BEAM' bot like I built but its the same basic concept Robots inspired by nature.

[edit on 15-2-2005 by ShadowXIX]

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 03:22 AM
I think an ideal combination would be to combine small walking robots suspended from electrical/pneumatic tethers on a manouverable blimp with solar cells, providing the power for the legs and also to cross long distances much faster flying....

This combo could enter places that nor balloon, nor walking robot alone could visit, like a cave high up a mountain...

The whole thing would look like a floating octopuss holding some scorpions / rock abrasion tools / sensors in its tentacles.

Even better would be if the tentacles themselves could be steered, like a tentacle exist of three long pressure tubes in a triangular setup, altering the pressure in one or more tubes would bend the tentacle in the preffered direction. Personally I would think that a helium pressured tentacle would allmost be very low weight.

[edit on 15-2-2005 by Countermeasures]

posted on Feb, 15 2005 @ 08:15 AM
I don't think they're going to arm the scorpion walkers any time soon. That's a lot of extra weight to carry for no purpose at all. They'd add scientific equipment, yes. But weapons? To shoot rocks?


posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 08:02 PM
Hmmm. These guys could carry bioweapons. Just a little canister of plague would do - no muss, no fuss, no weight.


posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 08:18 PM
In regards to the problem with it not havng enough power to support itself for too long, i'm sure solar panels could be used... if not they could easily program it to go back to a 'mother robot' which could hold enough power for it to recharge... the 'mother bot' could follow the smaller bug bot around but stay on easy terrain and when the small bug runs low on poer it automatically senses where the mother bot is and goes back to it and recharges... this tech is simple and is used in robotic vaccum cleaners and other appliances at the present. The smaller bot can sense how much power it would need to return to the mother at any given time and ensures that it wont stray too far...

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