Robot based on cartwheeling caterpillars | Science News

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Robot based on cartwheeling caterpillars

GoQBot built for speed

7:15pm, April 26, 2011

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Inspired by a caterpillar that makes like a wheel and rolls away from predators, researchers have created a robot that curls itself into a loop and peels out at speeds faster than a half meter per second.

Called GoQBot, the 10-centimeter-long robot has a hammer-shaped head and a silicone body embedded with metal coils. The coils contract, musclelike, when pulsed with current, and within 200 milliseconds the crawling bot becomes a wheel and rolls off at impressively high speeds.

Crawling robots typically have many coordinated joints that slow them down, says Satyandra Gupta, director of the Maryland Robotics Center at the University of Maryland in College Park. While good at wriggling through tight spaces, the

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