June 27, 2013
German Robot Ape Built, Set To Explore The Moon

German scientists have designed a robot that is in the mold of an ape which they hope to send into space for intergalactic missions.

Engineers from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the University of Bremen have combined to develop a space robot that is designed to travel over rocky and uneven ground, like the moon.

The iStruct Demonstrator has mechanical arms, legs, and a spine that moves and has the agility of a primate. It is thought that it could replace the wheel rovers that are currently used on expeditions into space.

It is currently being tested on landscapes that are akin to the moon. According to researchers at the establishment, this body is better suited to the lunar surface as its four-legged stance is more stable. The robot can also set itself back up straight if it falls over.

It also has the ability to stand up on its hind legs, and it can use its arms to pick up objects, such as samples, whilst it can also move obstacles prevented its path with its hands too. The iStruct currently only weighs 18kg and measures a measly 66x43x75cm.

A study from the research centre of the project stated, "The aim of the iStruct project is the development of a robotic system which effectively improves the locomotion and mobility characteristics, if applied to the robotic system. "

It then added, "The main focus in this project is the development of intelligent structures for application in mobile robots to increase the efficiency of a complex walking machine by the purposeful use of intelligent structures."

The statement continued, "A high number of sensors is needed to allow a precise perception of the environment; hence there will be large data sets which have to be locally pre-processed and evaluated."

It then concluded, "In order to meet the high requirements of the intelligent structures, sensors and actuators have to be selected or developed with regard to both their functionality and their integration capability within the intelligent structures."

What do you think of the iStruct?