Powerful Wasp Robots

Powerful Wasp Robots

Researchers recently developed powerful wasp robots for the task of hauling around heavy objects using extremely strong winches, the incredible thing is they can fly! This new innovative robot is called the FlyCroTug and finds opening doors an easy task. It’s equipped with very advanced gripping technologies and is able to push and pull on objects in different directions to move them around. The “sticky” technology the small air vehicles use is inspired by gecko’s feet and those of insects as well. This idea was previously bought about in Cutkoskys lab. These new innovative advancements mean the powerful wasp robots can pull objects up to 40 times its own weight! Typically these types of robots can only do half that. What this means is that these bots are able to open doors, carry water and even carry cameras in rescues situations, all at a minuscule size.

Matthew Estrada, Stanford graduate student and lead author of the paper related to this project had this to say “When you’re a small robot, the world is full of large obstacles” he continued “Combining the aerodynamic forces of our aerial vehicle along with interaction forces that we generate with the attachment mechanisms resulted in something that was very mobile, very forceful, and micro as well.” The researchers state that the FlyCroTugs tiny size actually benefits it as it is able to fit in spaces even some of the smallest robots on the market can’t fit into, while still packing one hell of a punch.

The Inspiration For Powerful Wasp Robots

“Wasps can fly rapidly to a piece of food, and then if the things too heavy to take off with, they drag it along the ground. So this was sort of the beginning inspiration for the approach we took” this is what co-author Mark Cutosky had to say about how heavily wasps inspired the robot. The developers researched how the wasp handles different prey and how it can carry certain weights, in order to measure how far they could push the capabilities of their own device. When dealing with smooth surfaces the bots use their gecko-like “sticky hands” to suction onto the object and carry it. If the object is rough, however, they have been given a collection of long spiny legs, which can latch onto tiny holes in heavier objects.

Each of the bots has a winch and a cable along with either gecko-like suction feet or spiny legs, but other than these default components the wasps are highly modifiable and researchers have tested things such as adding wheels for ground movement. The developers say it was no easy feat at all creating all this for something that weighs the same as two golf balls!

It’s not all sunshine’s and rainbows with these devices as some people have pointed out. Anyone who has seen the episode of hit British show Black Mirror called “Hated in the Nation” knows how these robots may be used for much much more sinister purposes other than opening doors.

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