The University of California, Berkeley's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab has developed the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod (DASH), a small, inexpensive, and highly durable robot that can go almost anywhere. View a video of the DASH: A Resilient High-Speed 16-gram Hexapedal Robot.
DASH has six adherent feet and a "spring loaded inverted pendulum" of the type that allows cockroaches to climb over obstacles, says Biomimetic Millisystems Lab director Ron Fearing. DASH is capable of traveling 15 body lengths per second on flat surfaces, and is fashioned from compliant paperboard and has a single main driver motor. The robot can be geared with other electronics such as standard sensors, a cell phone camera, and Bluetooth wireless.
The most critical capability that researchers are looking to instill in DASH is verticality. To this end, they are trying to replicate the adherent properties of a gecko's toes. Once adherence has been achieved, the next step in DASH's evolution will be enabling it to walk on uneven surfaces.
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