Corkscrew Robot - can you do it?
Here's one for the more creative engineers - a robot running on corkscrews instead of wheels or legs.
Tim Lexen, an engineer in Cumberland, Wisconsin, has come up with a novel design for robots. It has a triangular body 18 centimetres on a side, capped by a round lid, and three stainless steel coils 20 cm in diameter and 40 cm long. Each coil is turned by a motor - and by activating a coil, the robot can move in the direction of the coil's axis.
"It runs very well on grass, sand, gravel and other outdoor surfaces," Lexen said when he presented his work earlier this month at the IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Practical Robot Applications in Woburn, Massachusetts. However, the prototype has trouble gaining traction on surfaces like polished wood floors.
Here's the thing though; Lexen's prototype is only radio-controlled. A human operator chooses what direction to rotate which screws.
Given the idea, I bet the clever folk here could not only replicate the corkscrew drive, but make it autonomous.
I'd bet an Arduino or Raspberry Pi would be up to the job.
Go on - imagine the kudos of beating the boffins at their own game!
New Scientist article.
Abstract of Lexen's work.
Video of robot in action.