Arizona-based Revolute Robotics has unveiled its autonomous hybrid mobile robot (HMR), a spinning spherical cage that can fly like a multicopter or roll in any direction using two gyroscopic gimbaled rings. It’s a thing to see in sports.
HMR’s lightweight exoskeleton is able to deform somewhat, making it a neat little shock absorber for landings, and helps keep the robot hamster ball rolling, tumbling and bouncing over rough terrain. Critical electronics are protected from excessive vibration.
Best of all, the outer cage creates a nice ball of isolation for the four decently sized propellers used in flight mode – a nice safety bonus for keeping indoor work close to people, though it still looks Heavier than anything I want to drop on my head.
It’s designed to operate autonomously, preferring to roll when possible, but uses its flight capabilities to get over obstacles, or assist the gimbal to roll steep inclines. Airplane mode drains the battery five times faster than scroll mode, so it’s a treat sometimes.
Founded by two University of Arizona graduates, Revolute has a number of good-looking prototypes it’s testing.
The company hopes to first sell a fully developed HMR as an autonomous inspection robot for confined spaces, for example, by sending it down a pipeline loaded with a customizable camera/sensor payload. In this case, the flight mode would allow it to climb vertical sections of pipes with ease, something wheeled robots cannot.
Ultimately, Revolute hopes to develop it into an autonomous security drone and study potential military uses. Both will leverage intelligent cluster capabilities, where multiple HMRs can work together to provide multiple views of a target.
There are also potential applications in the mining industry, such as assessing the structural integrity of old mine shafts, and of course search and rescue, bomb disposal — anything that might help avoid putting humans at risk.
As of this writing, Revolute has raised approximately $115,000 in financing StartEngine invests in crowdfunding campaignin order to prepare the HMR for commercial deployment and manufacturing.
Please watch the video below. It was interesting to watch how the flight system behaved while trying to roll up that steep pile of rocks, as the gimbal motion caused the prop to nearly turn upside down a few times. It didn’t seem to matter, it quickly found its way up and lifted off.
StartEngine event video
source: Revolution Robotics