Vivid online videos demonstrate Superbot progress

February 21, 2007

Wei-Min Shen of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute recently reported to NASA significant progress in developing "SuperBot," identical modular units that plug into each other to create robots that can stand, crawl, wiggle and even roll. He illustrated his comments with striking video of the system in action, video now posted on line.

Shen's presentation took place at the Space Technology and Applications International Forum 2007 (STAIF) held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the report, he first offered a description of the SuperBot work:

"Superbot consists of Lego-like but autonomous robotic modules that can reconfigure into different systems for different tasks. Examples of configurable systems include rolling tracks or wheels (for efficient travel), spiders or centipedes (for climbing), snakes (for burrowing in ground), long arms (for inspection and repair in space), and devices that can fly in micro-gravity environment.

"Each module is a complete robotic system and has a power supply, micro- controllers, sensors, communication, three degrees of freedom, and six connecting faces (front, back, left, right, up and down) to dynamically connect to other modules.

"This design allows flexible bending, docking, and continuous rotation. A single module can move forward, back, left, right, flip-over, and rotate as a wheel. Modules can communication with each other for totally distributed control and can support arbitrary module reshuffling during their operation.

"They have both internal and external sensors for monitoring self status and environmental parameters. They can form arbitrary configurations (graphs) and can control these configurations for different functionality such as locomotion, manipulation, and self-repair."

Shen illustrated his words with SuperBot action video showing these processes.

He and his colleagues and students made the fillms in just one week, immediately after completing the mechanics and electronics hardware for the latest batch of SuperBot modules at the beginning of February.

"The fact that SuperBot can achieve so much in so short a time demonstrates the unique value of modular, multifunctional and self-reconfigurable robots," Shen said.

Follow the links below to view .wmv files of some of the videos:

Rope climbing between buildings:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/ropeclimber.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/fastropeclimber.wmv

Rolling:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/rollingtrack1.wmv

Caterpillar on beach and in room:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/beach-caterpillar.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/rough-catapillar.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/caterpillar.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/ninja-caterpillar.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/hard-at-work.wmv

Climbing on sand dune, river bank, and in room:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/sand-climber.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/climbcreek.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/carpet-climber.wmv

Sidewindering:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/sidewinder7mod.wmv

Climbing on a fishing net:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/netclimb1.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/netclimb2.wmv

Carrying a camera:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/climberCam.wmv

Walking:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/walker1.wmv

Butterflying:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/t-swim.wmv
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/creep.wmv

Collaborations:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/synch-swim.wmv

Searching and connecting:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/docking.wmv

Shape shifting:
http://www.isi.edu/robots/superbot/movies/Feb2007/reconfigure_shape_dependent.wmv
-end-
Note: Please credit USC Information Sciences Institute in any publication or use of the linked .wmv files

University of Southern California

Related Sensors Articles from Brightsurf:

OPD optical sensors that reproduce any color
POSTECH Professor Dae Sung Chung's team uses chemical doping to freely control the colors of organic photodiodes.

Airdropping sensors from moths
University of Washington researchers have created a sensor system that can ride aboard a small drone or an insect, such as a moth, until it gets to its destination.

How to bounce back from stretched out stretchable sensors
Elastic can stretch too far and that could be problematic in wearable sensors.

New mathematical tool can select the best sensors for the job
In the 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash, the recovered black box from the aftermath hinted that a failed pressure sensor may have caused the ill-fated aircraft to nose dive.

Lighting the way to porous electronics and sensors
Researchers from Osaka University have created porous titanium dioxide ceramic thin films, at high temperatures and room temperature.

Russian scientists to improve the battery for sensors
Researchers of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) approached the creation of a solid-state thin-film battery for miniature devices and sensors.

Having an eye for colors: Printable light sensors
Cameras, light barriers, and movement sensors have one thing in common: they work with light sensors that are already found in many applications.

Improving adhesives for wearable sensors
By conveniently and painlessly collecting data, wearable sensors create many new possibilities for keeping tabs on the body.

Kirigami inspires new method for wearable sensors
As wearable sensors become more prevalent, the need for a material resistant to damage from the stress and strains of the human body's natural movement becomes ever more crucial.

Wearable sensors detect what's in your sweat
A team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, is developing wearable skin sensors that can detect what's in your sweat.

Read More: Sensors News and Sensors Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.