Engineers Assembled a Transformer for Space Missions [VIDEO]
MIT engineers have come up with the WORMS modular platform, a robot constructor that can assemble into different shapes to perform various tasks. This will avoid the “zoo of cars” during lunar missions, thereby making it possible to save on payload and space during transportation.
WORMS consists of worm-like articulated legs, various types of “shoes” that are worn on these limbs, and various pallets that serve as the basis for the mechanism’s chassis. Spring-loaded twist-and-lock connectors, known as Universal Interface Blocks (UCIs), are used to quickly and easily connect all components together in any desired combination. Thus, the “mix and match” system will allow the assembly of different “kinds” of robots:
- A Robo-spider that would crawl through dangerous lava channels and drill through frozen water;
- Roboslona – a pack robot for transporting heavy equipment;
- Robotic goat to transport more fragile equipment, such as solar panels.
While each WORMS appendage weighs about 9 kilograms on Earth, in the Moon’s atmosphere they will only weigh about 1.4 kilograms, allowing astronauts to easily assemble, disassemble and reassemble them like a high-tech LEGO set. The team is already working on a second-generation model with longer, heavier limbs, with an eye on robots carrying heavy equipment.