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New Robot Overcomes Obstacles


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Researchers with the Ourobot.

A new robot developed as a feasibility study looks like a bicycle chain consisting of 12 fist-sized segments, each of which contains a motor.

Credit: Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences

Researchers at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences have developed Ourobot, a robotic system that looks like a bicycle chain consisting of 12 fist-sized segments, each of which contains a motor.

The chain segments are equipped with pressure sensors that enable the robot to detect and overcome obstacles.

"At the moment, Ourobot can only move straight ahead and cannot manage curves yet, but its sensors can detect obstacles, such as a book, and can traverse them," says Bielefeld researcher Jan Paskarbeit. He notes Ourobot currently is only a feasibility study, which was developed as basic research with no concrete application.

However, the researchers plan to take the robotic system, which currently works in two dimensions, into the third dimension. "We would like to develop a robot that actively changes its form, which can adapt to its environment like an amoeba, capable of stretching and shrinking again," says Bielefeld professor Axel Schneider. In this way, the robot would be able to move through narrow terrain and overcome obstacles using different movements.

The researchers have designed different variations of the new three-dimensional version of Ourobot, similar to a ball or a snake.

From Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences
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