Over the years, a lot of exciting robot designs have been seen that allow adventurous machines to navigate through difficult terrains, but only a few manage to have a distinct and characteristic style like one engineered by a New York-based firm, Pliant Energy Systems, dubbed as ‘Velox.’ It uses a unique oscillating propulsion system. The bot can adequately sail on water, over uneven land and has recently learned the art of ice-skating.
The unique abilities of the robot Velox originated from research into renewable energy. Pietro Filardo, CEO of Pliant Energy Systems, wanted to utilize his knowledge about the field in marine biology to use wave and tidal energy. This led him to find more about adaptable biomorphic devices that could be used to quickly drive vehicles through marine environments, along with capturing energy.
The Velox relies on flexible fins that oscillate to drive the bot in the forward direction instead of hard, spinning blades that usually power a submarine. The actuators get the power distributed from the onboard CPU that drive the wave motions in the long fins. The robot has a strong resemblance to stingray when it swims through the water.
When the bot approaches the dry land, the amphibiotic robot transitions itself into a ground rover by rotating the long fins 90 degrees to support itself up and move over rough surfaces. The company says that the robot has the ability to handle snow, sand, paving, pebbles and solid ice (added recently to the list).
Pietro Filardo describes the robot Velox as a proof of concept in its current state, but he stresses that it can be useful in a wide range of potential applications due to its mobility options. The bot can be used in the Polar Regions for the science missions given its newfound ice-skating abilities, or it can be deployed to carry ammunition or medical supplies to troops on the beach.