This drone has an origami arm that unfolds to pick up objects

This Japanese startup is making a hover backpack to augment jumping ability
March 14, 2018
Tesla files permit for ‘restaurant and Supercharger station’ in Santa Monica
March 14, 2018



In a quest to make drones more functional (and a little creepier), scientists have created a folding robotic arm that allows drones to pick up objects within narrow ditches.
The arm, described in a study published today in Science Robotics, is made of seven plastic actuators that look like rectangular boxes stacked on top of each other and extending up to 27.5 inches (70 centimeters) in length. But the special thing about the actuators is that they can fold planes, so that the arm is saved. The scientists linked the arm to a drone. When equipped with finger-shaped pliers, the arm could grab an object at the bottom of a trench. When equipped with a camera, you could take video between the branches of the trees.
"Doubling, packing the everyday stuff is everywhere," the co-author of the study, director of the Soft Robotics Research Center at Seoul National University, told The Verge Kyu Jin Cho in an email. "Why not for robots?"

Video: Kim et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaar2915 (2018)

Folding robots are increasingly popular. Called "origami robots", they are made of flat sheets of metal or plastic that fold and unfold so that the bots can move. MIT researchers have even created a swallowable origami robot made of exoskeletons of meat and origami that allow small bots to be more versatile. At Harvard University, engineers turned to kirigami, the Japanese art of cutting paper, instead of folding it, to create artificial snake skin that allows a soft robot to crawl forward.
The folding actuators on the robotic arm fold and unfold in an ingenious manner. Elastic bands inside the actuators open them in rigid rectangular boxes. Blocked in the form of 3D, these hollow boxes extend to a robotic appendage that is quite stiff and weighs only about half a pound (258.6 grams). With a simple cable and an electric motor, the actuators can be unlocked and folded horizontally, retracting the arm only 1.5 inches (40 millimeters) in length. In several indoor and outdoor tests, the scientists showed that the arm can help the drones reach where they could not go otherwise, such as a narrow ditch that was a little wider than the drone itself.

Video: Kim et al., Sci. Robot. 3, eaar2915 (2018)

In the future, this robotic arm could help scientists collect samples of cracks or inspect chimneys, pipes and other narrow spaces, the study says. For that to happen, it is necessary to improve some things: for once, the arm must be longer and more stable so that it can work even if the drone flies fast. The arm can also extend in one direction for now. But do not worry, researchers are already talking about creating "compact and lightweight origami meetings".

ICS
ICS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *