Tiny VelociRoACH robot smashes speed record

Odds are you had no idea that there was a speed record for tiny robots, but there is. A group of robotics researchers from UC Berkley recently smashed that speed record with their tiny robot dubbed the X2-VelociRoACH. This little robot is so fast that if you aren't careful you will miss the little machine as it tears by you. X2 is able to run at 4.9 meters per second and weighs in at 54 grams.

4.9 meters per second may not computer in your brain, it equates to a speed of about 11 mph. It can reach that speed and sustain it as well making it the fastest robot of its size. There are two ways to make legged robots faster, increase the stride length or the stride frequency. Since the legs can't be made longer on this design, the team with increasing stride frequency.

The team reached a stride frequency of 45 Hz giving the bot 45 stride cycles every second. The limit to the stride frequency for the tiny robot is due to structural failure. That means that the bot can run faster, but when it does parts break off.

The components used in the robot are created using carbon fiber as reinforcement and the team long ago replaced rubber in the legs with fiberglass. The flexible joints are made from rip stop nylon because Kevlar and Spectra fiber composites failed in use. The team is looking for more performance via new materials to keep the bot from running itself literally to death.

SOURCE: Spectrum