The one of a kind RCTR robot uses its tracks to climb over a hurdle
There are many different ways that robots move themselves around. Some of them are designed to walk, move on wheels and others run on tracks. The Reconfigurable Continuous Track Robot (RCTR) from Ben Gurion University in Israel is designed to tackle any hurdle faced by the robot by raising up and wheeling over it.
Basically, the RCTR is mostly all track, created by David Zarrouk‘s Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
For RCTR, a minimalistic approach is adopted as only 3 motors are used in the current model while they work on lowering the number of motors to 2 in future models. When moving, the robot can have its flexible links that form the track to be able to be fastened resulting in the crawler to be stiff or be unfastened so that it may be more flexible. When the links are fastened at a particular angle, it’s forward facing side can raise itself to evade a hurdle.
If a similar kind of robot could be made for search and rescue, it being this flexible could be really beneficial as it can inspect a disaster site, not having to change its course if faced with an obstacle such as collapsed infrastructure or pot holes.
The current version of this robot can just travel in straight lines, therefore, a mechanism for navigation needs to be devised before it can be ready to be used in the real life situations. It would also be worthwhile to add autonomous piloting technology so it can move around without having to be controlled by an operator.
It’s still in its developmental phase. A study regarding this project is available on IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters.