This Autonomous, Omnidirectional Hamster Ball Robot Can Fly Over Obstacles

Revolute Robotics, an Arizona-based company, has unveiled an incredible creation known as the Hybrid Mobility Robot (HMR). This autonomous robot has a spherical cage-like structure capable of both aerial and terrestrial movements.

One of the key features of the HMR is its lightweight exoskeleton, which offers deformability to serve as a shock absorber during landings. This design ensures a smooth touchdown and safeguards the vital electronics by isolating them from excessive vibrations. As a result, the robotic sphere can effortlessly roll, tumble, and bounce over rough terrains while maintaining stability.

The outer cage of the HMR serves a dual purpose. Besides providing protection, it acts as an exclusion sphere for the four propellers utilized during flight mode. This safety measure allows the robot to operate near people, making it suitable for indoor applications. However, concerns about its weight still remain, as it might pose a risk if dropped from above.

The HMR operates autonomously, employing rolling as its preferred mode of movement. Nonetheless, it can leverage its flying capabilities to overcome such challenges when faced with obstacles or steep inclines. It should be noted that flight mode consumes battery power significantly faster than rolling, necessitating judicious use of aerial maneuverability.

Revolute Robotics, founded by University of Arizona graduates, has developed multiple visually striking prototypes that are currently undergoing rigorous testing. The company’s primary objective is to introduce a fully developed HMR as an autonomous inspection robot for confined spaces. For instance, it could be employed for pipeline inspections, equipped with customizable camera and sensor payloads. By utilizing flight mode, the HMR can navigate vertical sections of pipes that would otherwise be inaccessible to wheeled robots.

Looking ahead, Revolute aims to expand the applications of the HMR into autonomous security drones and explore potential military uses. These endeavors would harness the intelligent swarm capabilities of multiple HMRs working together to provide comprehensive perspectives on specific targets. The robot’s adaptability also extends to sectors like mining, where it can assess the structural integrity of older mineshafts. Moreover, it offers great potential in search and rescue operations and tasks involving bomb disposal, effectively mitigating risks to human operators.

To support the commercial deployment and manufacturing of the HMR, Revolute has successfully raised approximately $115,000 through a StartEngine investment crowdfunding campaign.

If you watch the accompanying video, you will witness the fascinating behavior of the HMR’s flight system as it tackles the challenge of rolling up a steep pile of rocks. Despite the propellers being positioned upside down momentarily due to gimbal motion, the robot quickly readjusts and achieves stable flight. Observing how the HMR seamlessly orients itself and takes to the air is truly impressive.

In conclusion, Revolute Robotics’ Hybrid Mobility Robot enables exploration of hazardous environments while minimizing risks to human safety, making it a standout technological achievement.

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