Roller-Walker Robot Can Walk Like Insect Or Make Like A Tree

And roll. Apparently the robot can use its legs as just that and then convert to a skating robot (sk8rb0t?). It is really quite amazing and the video is definitely worth a watch.

The robot made by Hirose-Fukushima Robotics Lab, basically uses the skating wheels on their side as feet when walking, then in a well thought out balancing act converts each leg, one at a time, to a wheel by basically turning its ankles, if you will, at 90 degree angles. The movement of the robot when skating is very fluid, and probably is designed for maximum efficiency.

Walking probably takes a lot more energy for the robot to do, and the fact that it can stop the skating action and just coast when in skate mode probably increases the power efficiency as well. There is also the matter of speed as the walking wasn't too terribly fast, but once the robot hit a flat surface and changed to skate mode, it started moving at an amazing speed for such a robot. I truly am impressed, and at the same time, I want one, now if only they could figure out a braking mechanism for the robot so mine doesn't wind up in traffic.

Roller-walker: the real rollerskating robot [via technabob]