One of Segway New Zealand News’ most-read posts is “A bit like a Segway.” It explores the very long bows some journalists draw to connect the story they’re writing about a latest invention or concept to the Segway Personal Transporter (PT).
Here’s a story about a DARPRA research project about a robot that isn’t really a thing like a Segway PT. But what it is is a machine capable of working its way into dangerous areas where humans may not want to venture. Called CHIMP, it is a robotic “chimpanzee” with tracks and (clawed!) limbs. It can roll along, climb over things, stand up and open doors and climb ladders – perfect for exploring earthquake damaged buildings, damaged nuclear power stations, etc. It would also make for a fantastic monkey-butler around the home.
Not only is this design interesting in itself, but it reminds us that 21st century technologies are enabling other methods of locomotion over and above the common four wheeled or basic self-laying-tracked platform.
The Segway PT was the first practical self-balancing two-wheeled machine, made possible by advances in motor, computer, sensor and battery technologies. The Segway PT also led to a range of Robotic Mobility Platforms that offer self-balancing two wheeled, and statically balanced three and four wheeled platforms suitable for a wide range of uses. These include a clever mid-articulated model, and the powerful RMP 400 that can climb stairs, venture down tunnels, or into infernos fitted with a fire-fighting water cannon.