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Robot Rock Climbers Headed for Mars

We've reported on robots that fly, robots that spy, robots that teach, and even robots that kill. But, robots that are designed specifically for mountain climbing are a little new to us, so with that we bring you video of two robots designed specifically for the task of scaling sheer cliff walls.

The first -- Capuchin --is a research bot, an evolution of earlier climbing bots created at Stanford University. This new bot is much faster than the old and is more capable of shifting its weight from leg to leg to maintain its balance. Also shown in the video is a similar robot from Dennis Hong at Virginia Tech, one that looks to scamper a little more quickly but with the help of a tether. Hong's bot will eventually have a laser range finder mounted on it, enabling it to scan and plot its course as it climbs. Current climbing bots all rely on pre-plotted maps to chart a course upward.

The goal driving many of these researchers is someday seeing their bots shuttled off to Mars and deployed to climb some of the many cliffs found on the planet, some of which measure multiple miles in height.

That's one task we're happy to leave to a machine.

From Engadget and New Scientist Tech

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Tags: Mars, Robot, robots, Rock Climb, RockClimb

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