Author Topic: PUFFER: Origami-inspired Robot Can Hitch a Ride with a Rover  (Read 115 times)

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Rick

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Origami-inspired Robot Can Hitch a Ride with a Rover

The next rovers to explore another planet might bring along a scout.

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) in development at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was inspired by origami. Its lightweight design is capable of flattening itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places rovers can't fit.

Over the past year and a half, PUFFER has been tested in a range of rugged terrains, from the Mojave Desert in California to the snowy hills of Antarctica. The idea is to explore areas that might be too risky for a full-fledged rover to go, such as steep slopes or behind sand dunes.

It's designed to skitter up 45-degree slopes, investigate overhangs and even drop into pits or craters. PUFFER is meant to be the hardy assistant to a larger robot companion: several of the microbots can be flattened like cards and stacked one on top of the other.

Then, they can be flicked out, popped up and begin exploring.

More: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6782