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Sprawling Wheel Leg Robot Crawls and Climbs

The latest version of this skittery little sprawling robot can climb walls and crawl like a turtle

We’re always impressed by the way David Zarrouk (a professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by way of UC Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab) manages to extract a ton of functionality from the absolute minimum of hardware in his robots. In the past, we’ve seen clever designs like a steerable robot that only uses a single motor, and a multi-jointed robot arm that uses a traveling motor to actuate all of its degrees of freedom.

At the 2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Brisbane, Zarrouk presented an update to STAR, the Sprawl-Tuned Autonomous Robot that we first wrote about in 2013. Called Rising STAR, or RSTAR, it takes the sprawling wheel-leg mobility and adds another degree of freedom that allows the body of the robot to move separately from the legs, changing its center of mass to help it climb over obstacles.