Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rough Terrain and Jumping Robots by Boston Dynamics, RHex and Sand Flea


RHex Rough Terrain Robot

Boston Dynamics has rolled out two robots funded by the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force, the enhanced RHex rough terrain robot and the Sand Flea jumping robot. Expect to see Sand Flea in future law enforcement applications in a neighborhood near you. Both are versatile with RHex able to operate inverted and Sand Flea with a stabilization system while jumping upwards (and downwards) 30 feet.

RHex Rough-Terrain Robot RHex is a 30-lb robot designed for mobility on rough terrain. It is operated remotely via an RF link that includes a high-resolution video uplink. RHex can operate right-side-up or up-side down, as shown in the video, and goes for up to four hours on one charge of its batteries. RHex has been around for several years, but we redesigned this version for ruggedness, long battery life, maintainability, and improved mobility. This version of RHex was funded by the US Army's Rapid Equipping Force.

RHex Devours Rough Terrain RHex is a rugged man-portable robot with extraordinary rough terrain mobility. RHex climbs in rock fields, mud, sand, vegetation, railroad tracks, telephone poles and up slopes and stairways. RHex has a sealed body, making it fully operational in wet weather, muddy and swampy conditions, and it can swim on the surface or dive underwater. RHex's remarkable terrain capabilities have been validated in government-run independent testing. RHex is controlled remotely from an operator control unit at distances up to 600 meters. A video uplink provides front and rear views from onboard cameras. RHex also uplinks navigational data from onboard compass and GPS and from payload sensors. A downlink allows the operator to drive and operate mission payloads.

Sand Flea Robot preparing to jump

Sand Flea Jumping Robot Sand Flea is an 11-lb robot with one trick up its sleeve: Normally it drives like an RC car, but when it needs to it can jump 30 feet into the air. An onboard stabilization system keeps it oriented during flight to improve the view from the video uplink and to control landings. Current development of Sand Flea is funded by the The US Army's Rapid Equipping Force.


Seeking Alpha