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Robotic lizards may play a role in future disaster control

Researchers have created a robotic lizard that can scale vertical walls just like a real animal.

While Boston Dynamics and other robotics companies gained notoriety for their clever, dog-like animatronics in disaster zones, scientists at the University of Australia R&D focused on a species of reptile that could become a snake where others could not. ,

Smaller, lighter-built than many other animal car versions, lizards improve vertical crawling, making them an ideal base for future control vehicles, says Christopher Clemente, the university team leader who develops robotic reptiles. 2017

“The lizard is a really good place to start, as they find one of the optimal formations to climb. “Most of the time, nature solves problems for us,” said Clemente.

The team called their latest invention X-4 է on Thursday published a scientific paper on their findings.

Robots have been able to climb stairs and climb hills for years, but staying true to and climbing 90 degrees is a unique set of challenges. It requires perfect speed, stability, weight and efficiency, as well as the ability to catch surfaces without getting stuck.

To understand how reptiles do this, the team captured two species of lizards and shot them as they walked. Geckos were recorded walking on a plastic vertical racetrack while Australian water dragons were filmed sliding on a specialized carpet.

The researchers used software to track the position of the animals’ legs, how their bodies move before creating a clasp robot that mimics the same patterns.

One of their main findings was that lizards have an optimal range of dynamic stability, which means that their speed can affect their climbing success.

When they climbed very fast, more than 70% of the maximum speed, they increased the probability of falling to the ground. If they were traveling below 40% of their maximum speed, they also had a 50% chance of slipping.

The findings show how fast the robot must move to hold on to the wall.

University researchers have made a clever contrast to the size of a medium-sized lizard. The car is 9 inches long, weighs less than half a pound, has legs and feet designed to resemble the way climbers move.

It is made mainly of 3-D printed parts with joints in the spine so that it can slide and the joints in the shoulders so that its legs can move back and forth. The legs have clasp clasps, which allow them to be caught on surfaces and easily removed.

The researchers added a range finder և Wi-Fi sensor to help the robot avoid obstacles. The passive tail helps keep the robot stable. During the tests, the climbing robot was shot on a 90-degree carpeted surface. At medium speeds, it stuck to the wall.

Researchers say that these days it is blindly crawling on the walls as it approaches the ceiling, at which point it is planned to stop. They hope to add a camera և enhanced autonomy next.

It remains a prototype that they imagine can create a good communication robot. Maybe it can climb trees and phone poles to expand the range of Wi-Fi networks. They also doubt that it will work well in search and rescue scenarios.

“You can send these robots to the disaster zone, they can just crawl around the building and look for survivors,” Clemente said. “If someone has a cell phone, they can join the robot and ping their location.”

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