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Video: Virginia Tech's IMPASS robot has spokes, but no rims

Tim Stevens

It's been a few years since we saw an early, fledgling render of IMPASS, the Intelligent Mobility Platform with Actuated Spoke System under development at Virginia Tech's Robotics & Mechanisms Lab. Now look at it, all grown up and featured front and center in an episode of our favorite show for geeking out: Engineering TV. The bot, with its rimless wheels, is shown dynamically adjusting the length of each spoke as appropriate to scamper up over obstacles or cross divots unperturbed. Two motors provide movement while three more inside the wheels themselves use treads to shift the spokes in and out based on inputs from laser and IR range finders, ensuring this ride's height is always precisely calculated. We know who to call before the next Engadget lowrider throw down.

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