The Rotundus Rolling Robot

Posted 6 Jan 2005 at 00:53 UTC by steve Share This

In another backlogged story from the holidays, Nils Hulth of Rotundus AB in Sweden writes, "I do not know if you are interested in our novel robot design - a ball-shaped robot. Currently we are looking for uses for this robot apart from surveillance and inspection. Maybe one of your readers might have an idea?" The Rotundus robot looks like a large, black bowling ball. By moving an internal mass, the robot can move at up 20mph and is able to handle rough terrain. It's also airtight, so it can roll through snow, mud, and water with no problem. Photos and video of the robot in action can be found on the Rotundus website along with a few more details in a marketing flyer (PDF format). As for other applications, we reported on a proposed spherical miltary robot back in 2001. It called for a more elaborate system of moving masses and had extendable tripod legs and weapon arrays.

Interesting, but patent worthy...?, posted 6 Jan 2005 at 06:03 UTC by Solarbotics » (Master)

We did a kit called a "Miniball" waaay back in 1998 that was solar-powered but without the full navigational ability (used ricochet effect to change direction). Not only that, I saw a wire-frame "buckyball" using dual motors to give a fully steerable ball robot back in 1993. Even got a pic of it, if anybody's interested.

NASA also had something on their website not long ago about an inflatable robot of similar design for Mars (& similar) exploration. It wasn't too clear on the details, but it shows the concept is alive and kicking.

The spherical concept is lots of fun to play with, but *any* depression on the surface acts as a gravity point to attact it. Not to poo-poo this robot, but I'll be *very* impressed if it can do something like write its name in the snow on the side of a gentle slope. I'll continue looking at the videos now (and hopefully be stunned into silence!).

Regards, Dave

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