Technology

Robot Watch

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

The easiest way to send a robot to another planet is to make it small, so it can fly on a cheap rocket. But an ideal explorer should be big, so that it is stable. That conundrum drove mechanical engineer Shigeo Hirose and his colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the National Space Development Agency of Japan to build Tri-Star II. Tri-Star II has folding legs and three collapsible wheels that consist of loops of overlapping metal plates. When the robot is deployed, battery-powered motors in each hub unwind the loops, doubling their size. Once enlarged, the wheels can clamber over rocks and out of ditches that would stymie a smaller vehicle. The springy wheels minimize vibrations to sensitive machines mounted on the rover. And each wheel can move independently in any direction.

Courtesy Shigeo Hirose/Tokyo Institute of Technology

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.