A team of engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a bug-inspired robot that has the potential to assist first responders during disasters. Named CLARI (Compliant Legged Articulated Robotic Insect), this tiny and squishable robot is designed to shape-shift and fit through various gaps, weighing less than a ping-pong ball.
The modular design of CLARI allows for easy customization and the addition of more legs, with the eventual goal of creating an eight-legged spider-style robot that can walk over a web. Currently, CLARI relies on wires for power supply and basic commands, but the team aims to enable it to crawl independently and navigate spaces that were previously inaccessible to robots, such as the interiors of jet engines or the rubble of collapsed buildings. By operating from these locations, CLARI can transmit valuable information back to emergency personnel, enhancing their response capabilities.
Unlike traditional cube-shaped robots, CLARI is designed to mimic the diverse shapes and sizes found in the animal kingdom. The basic form of the robot is a square with a leg along each of its four sides. However, it can transform into a wider shape similar to a crab or a more elongated form resembling a cockroach. The team plans to incorporate sensors into future iterations of CLARI, allowing it to detect and react to obstacles in its environment.
The ultimate vision for CLARI is to develop a robot that not only looks like a bug but also possesses the intelligence and agility of a living insect. By equipping it with cameras and sensors, the robot can navigate and explore spaces that were previously inaccessible. This technology holds great promise for assisting first responders in their efforts to save lives and mitigate disasters.
– University of Colorado Boulder Research Team
– CLARI: Compliant Legged Articulated Robotic Insect