Innovation

Bouncing Robot Created to Traverse Low Gravity Environments

When asked to think about the moon landing, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is the image of an astronaut bouncing up and down in the low gravity of the moon. Basing their latest robot design off of this image, the European Space Agency have created a robot called SpaceBok to traverse low-gravity environments and help us explore the final frontier of space.


They were able achieve this by borrowing the dynamic walking style from the springbok, a smaller antelope. By using this walking style, the SpaceBok is able to take strides where all its legs are in the air, rather than one leg keeping in contact with the surface.

By Utilizing the organic movements of the springbok, the SpaceBok is able to more efficiently traverse the moon, mars or even asteroids through a series of algorithms and computational power. Although the SpaceBok does have to land at a certain point, through this design it’s able to easily and effortlessly leap through low gravity environments, providing a quicker option for exploring the surface of these environments. 

Using springs located on the end of its legs, the robot is able to store energy from landing and immediately launch up to six feet in the air. Borrowing the technology used to stabilize satellites, European Space Agency Engineers created a stability system for SpaceBok. The system, called a reaction wheel, allows the SpaceBok to accelerate or decelerate in different directions to keep the robot oriented. The SpaceBok is being tested in the lab right now, but there are plans to begin testing on hilly terrain soon.

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