– Swiss Flying Robot on Collision Course Visiting Tokyo Robot Exposition –
Gimball is a spherical flying robot of 34 cm in diameter and only 370 g of weight, which was developed in the laboratory of EPFL Professor Dario Floreano. It can buzz around the most unpredictable, chaotic environments, without the need for fragile detection sensors. This resiliency to injury, inspired by insects, is what sets it apart from other flying robots. Gimball is protected by a spherical, elastic cage which enables it to absorb and rebound from shocks. It keeps its balance using a gyroscopic stabilization system. It will be presented in public at the International Robot Exhibition (IREX) in Tokyo, Japan from November 5-9, 2013.
The Gimball project is conducted as part of the National Centers for Competence in Research “Robotics” launched by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) with the goal of developing robotics technologies for improving quality of life. EPFL PhD student Adrien Briod explained in a press release . “The idea was for the robot’s body to stay balanced after a collision, so that it can keep to its trajectory.” Briod further explained, “Flying insects handle collisions quite well. For them, shocks aren’t really accidents, because they’re designed to bounce back from them. This is the direction we decided to take in our research.”
A short video coverage is accessible on Youtube.