Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA have developed a prototype spider robot that will provide a cheap, mobile, and effective solution during various hazardous and disaster response missions. The nimble spider-bots are able to access areas that are difficult for humans to reach. They’ll provide a wealth of data and information for emergency response teams. Another plus comes from that fact these bots are remotely controlled therefore access to hazardous or contaminated sites will no longer pose a threat to human lives. Thanks to new 3D printing technology being utilized by the Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute, the robotic spiders are incredibly cheap and easy to produce.
Inspiration for the spider-robots came after the researchers spent months studying real life arachnids. Because of their excellent mobility, the eight-legged spider-bots are able to access areas simply unreachable by humans and other technological devices. The spider-bot relay information to researchers thanks to its built-in camera, sensor, and measuring equipment. According to Fraunhofer, the robots are even able to jump by pumping fluid into its limbs.
The method of 3D printing, which utilizes a process called selective laser sintering helps produces these rather large spider-bots quickly — reducing cost and allowing for multiple bot construction at the same time.
While there are no concrete plans to begin mass-producing these eight-legged arachnid bots, Fraunhofer will be showcasing its impressive prototype at the EuroMold 2011 trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany from November 29th to December 2nd.