Tripod Robot Designed To Walk, Grab, And Carry In Space

Researchers at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT – Italian Institute of Technology) have built a new prototype three-legged robotic platform that it is hoped will be deployed in space as part of a European Space Agency funded project. The new robot, called MARM, has three limbs that can be used to walk, move, grasp and transport payload modules while self-relocating itself on the space infrastructure in a microgravity environment. The robot is designed to assist astronauts in assembling and maintaining infrastructures while they are in space or, in the future, on other planets. The MARM prototype will be tested in a physical simulator arrangement prior to the development of the space-qualified version. The MARM platform can thus use its three limbs to move around, grasping the standard interconnections on the station’s surfaces and crawling over them and can also assemble and position components (in particular modular hexagon tiles, 1.2 m wide and 0.2 m thick, weighing about 12 kg). The three limbs endow the robot with greater locomotion and manipulation flexibility and, at the same time, a wider manipulation range, allowing it to transport large payloads and assemble and install them – even when out in space.

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