Israeli university develops high-speed amphibious robot

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A robot inspired by the movements of cockroaches and lizards has been developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University to travel at high speeds on difficult terrain and in water.

AmphiSTAR is a wheeled robot fitted with four propellers underneath and axes that can be titled using a sprawl mechanism. The propellers act both as wheels over ground and as fins to propel the robot over water, swimming and running on water at speeds of 1.5m/s.

Featuring two air tanks, the robot can float, hover on water at high speeds and transition to lower-speed swimming. The palm-sized robot can also crawl over gravel, grass and concrete, achieving a speed of 3.3mph.

Israeli researchers said the robot has been designed for use in agricultural, search and rescue and excavation applications, where both crawling and swimming are required.

Dr David Zarrouk, director of the bio-inspired and medical robotics laboratory at Ben-Gurion University, said the team’s future research will focus on the scalability of the robot and on underwater swimming.

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