The next time you find yourself buried in rubble, your savior might not be a keen-nosed rescue dog but rather this terror-inducing robo-arachnid.
Created by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation, this spider-like rotbot is designed for use as a forward scout for first responder teams during haz-mat crises and is equipped with a camera and sensory suite. This will allow it to transmit live video of the site as well as track down chemical or gas leak sources.
It even mimics a spider's walking style—keeping four feet planted while the other four advance with diagonally opposed legs moving simultaneously. The limbs are powered using hydraulic bellows that build up high levels of body pressure which then injects pressurized fluid into the leg, causing it to extend. These bellows are even powerful enough to allow some Spiderbot models the ability to jump.
Researchers employ 3D printing technology to minimize not only the robot's weight, but also minimize the number of steps needed to build one, keeping production costs low. It is currently a prototype but researchers are optimistic that it will soon be exploring areas too dangerous or unstable for humans.
Source: gizmodo.comAdded: 4 November 2011