Friday, 04 Nov, 2011 Technology

Latest Invention: Robotic Spider Built Using 3D Printing Tech


Scientists from Fraunhofer were able to develop an eight-legged robotic spider using 3D printing technique. The robot not only looks like a real spider but can actually move and even jump like one.

The spiderbot is very stable, being able to keep 4 of its 20 cm (8 inch)-long legs on the ground while the other 4 legs turn and ready to make the next step. In addition, the diagonally opposed legs can also move at the same time. The robotic spider moves its body by bending the front pairs of its legs and stretching the rear legs.

It would be interesting to note that researchers have equipped both the legs and body of the robot with pneumatically operated elastic drive bellows. The latter can bend and extend the legs with the force needed to allow the spiderbot to jump.

The body also features the control unit, valves and compressor pump, all of which provide the means of locomotion. Depending on the task the robot should perform, researchers can equip it with different sensors and measuring tools.

The robot was created with the help of a 3D printing process known as selective laser sintering (SLS). It involves the application of thin layers of a polyamide powder that is later melted into place using a laser. This process makes it possible to create sophisticated geometries, while making lightweight and inexpensive things.

Currently the machine is only a prototype but scientists already see it as a useful instrument for exploring hazardous sites and helping search for people trapped inside damaged buildings. The spiderbot will be officially presented at the EuroMold 2011 trade fair that will take place in the period between November 29 and December 2 in Frankfurt.

[via Fraunhofer]

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