Although we've seen failed attempts at turning amoebas into helpers, Virginia Tech's Dennis Hong is hoping that his creations will see a bit more success. Using funding from the prestigious CAREER grant, the researcher is designing a Whole Skin Locomotion (WSL) mechanism "for robots to work on much the same principle as the pseudopod, or cytoplasmic foot, of the amoeba." The device's primary goal seems to hover around the world of search-and-rescue, as the diminutive crawler can maneuver in and around tight spaces without regard for its own health, and of course, a nearly-microscopic bot just can't be developed without hinting at one day ending up somewhere inside your body. Notably, it appears that Mr. Hong isn't satisfied with just building a prototype, as he's already got plans for implementing the technology into projects such as IMPASS (Intelligent Mobility Platform with Active Spoke System, DARwin (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence), and STriDER (Self-Excited Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot).
Virginia Tech researcher crafting amoeba-inspired robotic helpers
Darren Murph|March 27, 2007 8:10 AM