These flat-pack turtlebots will crawl across minefields for safety’s sake

The threat of minefields is an ongoing and horrifying one, and the duty of clearing them is as difficult as it is dangerous. All the more reason, then, that it should be done by robots! A new type of inexpensive, versatile bot modeled after turtles could be a great tool for this and other jobs.

Ben Amor and Dan Dukes of Arizona State University were interested in the problem of how to deploy robots quickly to environments where their means of locomotion isn’t necessarily the best. For instance, if your bot has pointy feet and walks like a quadruped, it may not be very effective in sand or rubble. The robot should be able to adapt.

The motion of the fin before learning (top) and after a few learning sessions.

The solution the researchers propose is a robot (the “C-Turtle”) with…

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