Robotics

Creepy Velox robot uses undulating fins to skate over solid ice

Creepy Velox robot uses undula...
The Velox robot recently learned how to ice skate
The Velox robot recently learned how to ice skate
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The Velox robot could be used to carry medical supplies or ammunition through the water to troops on the beach
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The Velox robot could be used to carry medical supplies or ammunition through the water to troops on the beach
The Velox robot recently learned how to ice skate
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The Velox robot recently learned how to ice skate
The Velox robot emerges from the water
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The Velox robot emerges from the water
The Velox robot is an amphibious rover that can handle a variety of environments
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The Velox robot is an amphibious rover that can handle a variety of environments
The Velox robot uses a set of undulating fins to propel itself forward
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The Velox robot uses a set of undulating fins to propel itself forward
The unique capabilities of the Velox robot actually stem from research into renewable energy
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The unique capabilities of the Velox robot actually stem from research into renewable energy
The unique capabilities of the Velox robot enable to it handle a variety of terrain
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The unique capabilities of the Velox robot enable to it handle a variety of terrain
The Velox robot uses a set of undulating fins to propel itself forward, even through snow
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The Velox robot uses a set of undulating fins to propel itself forward, even through snow
The unique capabilities of the Velox robot actually stem from research into renewable energy
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The unique capabilities of the Velox robot actually stem from research into renewable energy
The Velox robot recently learned how to ice skate
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The Velox robot recently learned how to ice skate

We've seen quite a few interesting robot designs over the years that allow adventurous machines to negotiate difficult terrain, but few with the distinct style of the Velox robot from New York engineering firm Pliant Energy Systems. Using a novel undulating propulsion system, the bot is able to efficiently glide through the water, over rough land and has recently become adept at the art of ice-skating.

The unique capabilities of the Velox robot actually stem from research into renewable energy, where CEO of Pliant Energy Systems Pietro Filardo sought to use his knowledge in marine biology to harness wave and tidal energy. This led him to explore flexible biomorphic devices that could not only capture energy, but be used to propel vehicles through marine environments.

So instead of rigid, spinning blades that might power a submarine, Velox relies on a flexible fin that undulates to drive the robot forward. An onboard CPU distributes power to actuators that drive the wave motions in the long fins, which give the robot a strong resemblance to a stingray as it swims through the water.

And when it approaches dry land, the amphibious robot is able to transition to a ground rover by swiveling those fins 90 degrees to prop itself up and move over solid surfaces. According to the company, the robot is capable of handling sand, snow, pebbles and paving and as of recently, solid ice.

The Velox robot could be used to carry medical supplies or ammunition through the water to troops on the beach
The Velox robot could be used to carry medical supplies or ammunition through the water to troops on the beach

Filardo describes Velox as a proof-of-concept in its current state, but notes that the mobility options it possesses give it a wide range of potential applications. It could be used to carry medical supplies or ammunition through the water to troops on the beach as illustrated in the image above, or given its newfound ice-skating abilities, could be deployed as part of science missions in the polar regions.

You can see it scoot across the ice in this video:

Ice-skating Robot Also Swims

Source: Pliant Energy Systems

4 comments
Derek Howe
whoa, that's pretty awesome. The should license this tech to the RC crowd...people love their toys.
clay
Looks really interesting. Looks like a linear version of those rotating cylinder tracks from a hundred years ago.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Let the "Hunt for Red October" begin! (the Navy *does* already have a "completely silent" version of this caterpillar drive, right? ☻ )
flyerfly
Well this is one of the neatest things I have seen for awhile. I wonder how quiet it could be made for underwater use. I just loved how it "swam" through the snow. Good stuff...whenever things in nature are copied it seems the work very nicely for certain tasks...this is one of them.