Monday, July 19, 2010

Robotics Monday: Transforming Wall-E

Name of Model: Nxt-WALL-E-Transformable
Created by: Andreas (I don't know of a link to this builder's other creations)
Found at:
Details: Remember those scenes in Wall-E when the robotic protagonist adorably "transformed" into a little box? They've now been captured in LEGO form. How, exactly, the 3 NXT motor outputs were multiplexed into 5 9V motors, I don't know, but I think we can agree that the final effect is fantastic. One motor for each set of treads drives Wall-E around, while the other motors handle the head and arms. The process for folding the treads underneath is particularly great - three worm gears in series drive a system that actually changes the placement of the sprockets for the treads on the way underneath. Making that process one smooth mechanism is no small feat, but it works very well and adds a surprising amount of realism to this Wall-E. What makes this trickery with the tracks so realistic is that cutting-edge rescue robots that need to travel over rubble today. Being able to move the treads closer together like this allows a robot to turn around in a smaller amount of space - making it easier to navigate unpredictable terrain.

Figures that I can't find a good link to a non-LEGO robot that does that uses just two sets of treads and changes its steering geometry now, doesn't it?

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