Robots Bored With Bettering Humans, Climb Trees Like Monkeys Instead

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So far, robots can play basketball and baseball better than humans, juggle better than us, and, well, do a lot better than us as it is. So it comes as no surprise that robots and (their creators) have turned to other animals to mimic. In this case, it's a robot that climbs like a monkey but looks like a caterpillar and, er, has the blindless of a bat.


Treebot was created by Tin Lun Lam and Yangsheng Xu from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is only different from other tree-climbing bots due to the fact it's autonomous. Therefore, despite having no vision, it is capable of climbing up and down even the trickiest of branches.

Other than its set of claws for gripping, Treebot has a linear framework that the body of the bot can stretch and compress against. When the front claw is secured to the branch, the back claw inches forward (or backward, if it is climbing back down!). The claws work like feelers to find where to grip on the branch, which is why the robot doesn't need eyes to navigate. All a human needs to do is tell Treebot which direction it needs to go in and how far.

Treebot is still being improved: For instance, if it had vision, it would probably zip up the tree faster, so the creators are finding another way of optimizing the bot's speed. Check out the video below to see it in action, and feel jealous you were never quite this good at tree-climbing.

[IEEE Spectrum via Gizmodo]

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