Feeds

Spaniards deploy self-propelled ROBOT BALLS

Motorised automatic bollocks to prowl Iberian fields

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Yet another boon has been conferred upon suffering humanity by boffins in Spain, who have announced the successful deployment of motorised self-rolling spherical robots intended for "missions on wild environments".

The rumbling ball-bot design has been dubbed ROSPHERE by its inventors at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. According to a UPM statement announcing ROSPHERE's debut to an astonished world, the trundling bollock-esque machine is best described as:

A robot without wheels or legs which has a single spherical form that, literally, scrolls by itself to conduct the missions and being inherently stable. The robot has proved its potential for diverse applications ...

Seeking to explain how the droid cannonball propels itself along, the boffins of the Universidad have this to say:

The running of the “spherical robot” can be compared to the ball game thought for hamsters. In that case, as the hamster moves it changes the location of the center of mass of the system by destabilizing the spherical robot and consequently generating motion.

Although the ROSPHERE is not, in fact, actually powered by a hamster. The UPM statement explains that the boffins "replace[d] the little animal with a mechanical system ... the 'mechatronic' system may induce motion of a ball in a controlled manner."

Apparently the balldroid has good off-road performance, and its designers believe it would be useful to farmers for monitoring the effectiveness of "precision farming" techniques in which quite precise moisture levels need to be maintained across fields of crops.

The ballbot boffins also took their diminutive metal juggernaut for a spin in a Madrid park "in order to verify that this robot can safely interact without being a threat to people". They have published an account of the project in the aptly-named journal Industrial Robot, here. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.