"It’s better because there are 3"… Spacehopper, a three-legged space exploration robot (Gordon Jeong TECH+) – Nate News VRESP

(Seoul Newspaper Now News) Early walking robots usually had four legs. This is because walking on two legs without falling like a human is actually not easy. However, with recent developments in robotics technology, robots that walk on two legs like humans are becoming a reality. Looking at humanoid robots that walk skillfully on two legs, the future in which robots replace human labor does not seem so distant anymore.

In any case, for a robot to walk stably or move quickly, it seems a reasonable choice to have an even number of legs, such as two or four, like an animal. But some scientists don’t think that’s necessary. Three bridges can also be a reasonable alternative depending on the situation. A research team at ETH Zurich in Switzerland also considered a three-legged robot.

SpaceHopper, a three-legged robot that started as a student project two and a half years ago, has three long, thin legs like an insect. The body here is also triangular. The reason for this strange appearance is that it was designed to move in a celestial body with extremely low gravity, such as an asteroid. If it has three legs, it is stable when standing like a tripod, but it is prone to falling as soon as it takes one step off. However, on the surface of an asteroid, where there is almost no gravity, there is no need to worry about falling over. In fact, the bigger problem is that gravity is so low that you can’t walk properly regardless of the number of legs you have. In the case of low-mass asteroids, there is a risk that if the robot pushes the ground with its legs, it will bounce straight into space and become a lost child in space.

The purpose of the Spacehopper is not to walk, but to bounce as its name suggests. Press down on the ground, jump slightly, and when you land back on the ground, use your three legs to balance like a tripod. It may not land at once and may bounce several times. Taking this into account, the legs are made to be strong against shocks even though they are thin. Because the top and bottom are the same and the shape is the same in all three directions at 360 degrees, there is no problem in mission performance no matter which side you land on. The research team tested the Spacehopper robot by creating a simulated microgravity environment in the laboratory. And to test it in a near-zero gravity environment, we partnered with the European Space Agency and France’s Nobspace to fly the robot aboard the Air Zero G zero-gravity plane. Air Zero G is a modified Airbus A310 aircraft that repeatedly free-falls from high altitudes for about 30 seconds to provide a zero-gravity/microgravity environment for on-board astronauts and laboratories.

Gordon Jeong Science Columnist [email protected]

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