Robot cooperation is super cool right now, because we've realized that even robots need good buddies if they want to achieve their goals. Look at, for example, stairs. Easy for humans, but tough for the VelociRoACH — a crawling hexapod bot and research platform built by UC Berkeley. In the latest research, a pair of RoACHs were taught how to climb steps, with the back bot giving the front one a push up — with the bot on top of the stair then letting down a magnetic winch to pull its buddy up. Teamwork makes the robodream work.
The VelociRoACH's plan of attack. (Image credit: UC Berkeley)
It's a simple demonstration, meant to show how smaller robots like this can work together to overcome tasks they can't handle alone. The UC Berkeley scientists from the university's Biomimetic Millisystems Lab have been playing with their roach and bug designs for a while now, and suggest the bots will eventually find a place in disaster rescue scenarios. Right now, though, they're taking things one stair at a time.