CubeSat Robot Designed for Disaster Relief

CubeSat Robot Designed for Multiple Uses

Have you ever wanted to build a multipurpose robot?  A robot that would do many things well here’s someone who’s done this this robot is based on the design of a CubeSat. CubeSats are small satellites built in the shape of a cube. This project is called the Rapidly Deployable Automation System or RDAS.

Are you interested in a project where human tele-operational control of a robot rover is possible with a hands-free wearable headband that tracks the human’s head movements, thus moving the robot?

These small spacecraft were originally designed as an inexpensive alternative for opening up space exploration too many opportunities that would not necessarily take place with the more expensive satellite technology. Another reason for developing these CubeSats was to push the technology to see what could be accomplished in a very small inexpensive platform.

CubeSat Design History

One of the first examples of a CubeSat was the Vermont Lunar CubeSat. The ambitious goal of this project is to develop a cube sat that will eventually orbit the moon. The initial satellite, which cost about $50,000 and funded in part by a grant from NASA, served as a test bed model for spacecraft navigation and guidance.

A CubeSat (U-class spacecraft)[1] is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that usually has a volume of exactly one liter (10 cm cube), has a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms,[2] and typically uses commercial off-the-shelf components for its electronics.

Vermont Lunar CubeSat

“Vermont Lunar CubeSat” by Cbrandonvt – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons

The eventual goal of the project is to build a CubeSat capable of orbiting the moon.  It was launched on November 19, 2013 from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as part of a payload containing two NASA, 11 university, one high school and 14 Air Force CubeSats.

Rapidly Deployable Automation System

The CubeSat robot developed by “Erin RobotGrrl” is a 3-D printed bot made of both rigid and flexible materials and is equipped with hinges which allows it to fold into a cube. This robot is designed for a number of task. Some of those task include monitoring of natural disasters, exploration, and remote measurements of the environment.

One very interesting component of the project is the unique 3-D printed headset. The headset is used to control and operate the cube shaped robot. One future possibility for this little robot could be the exploration of the surface of Mars.

Let me know what you think about this.  Leave a comment.

Source: 3D Printed CubeSat Robot is Controlled with a Headband And Could Tackle Natural Disaster Relief

Robotic Rat Follow-up

Spotted this follow-up article on the Scratchbot covered here several months ago.  In this update, the robot is showing off its abilities to search-out objects by touch.  No vision system is used.  This is a very novel approach and could have many search and rescue applications where the lack of light is an issue.  Check out the link below and also look at the video at the Electronics Weekly website.


Credit:  Bristol Robotics Laboratory and University of Sheffield via

… to damage and injury than whiskers. Rats have the ability to operate with damaged whiskers, and broken whiskers on robots could be easily replaced, without affecting the whole robot and its expensive engineering. This award is a welcome recognition …

Robotic 'rat' could become a lifesaver
(author unknown)
Mon, 30 Nov 2009 11:40:44 GMT

Robot That Hops Over Obstacles is in the News

There have been many posts on this hopping robot all over the blogosphere this week.  I finally decided to put the story on RobotNext in order to add my comments to the discussion.   So far, most of what I have seen on this bot has been about its military applications.  However, it really seems well suited to search and rescue operations.  With its ability to jump over objects and onto balconies or roofs of buildings, it could be a boost to first responders to an emergency.  This robot could hop onto the second story balcony of a burning building and provide up close surveillance of the situation.  Perhaps, it could even carry a fire hose with it to put water on a fire that firefighters could not reach.  Check out the story at the link below.



During normal travel, an electric motor powers the wheels. But when needed, the robot can engage a hopping mechanism and leap over 25 feet in the air to clear an obstacle (as the video posted by Sharon demonstrated earlier this week) . It may look strange, but its unique capability might give the Hopper an important role in urban warfare.

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have been working on hopping robots which, much like grasshoppers or fleas, can leap over obstacles several times taller than themselves.

Precision Hopper = New Urban Commando
David Hambling
Fri, 18 Sep 2009 16:00:44 GMT

Snake Robots to Become More Intelligent

If researchers in Norway are successful, a more intelligent snakebot could be crawling its way up a pipe near you.  Scientists at SINTEF in Norway are working to make snake robots as smart as a teenager.  These robotic snakes have many possible applications besides inspecting pipes.  One possibility is that of acting as a robotic fire hose.  The snakebot could use the high pressure water in the hose as its power source and as the fire extinguisher.  Of course, these types of robots are also being explored as possible search and rescue devices since they could reach areas inaccessible to other more conventional machines.  See one of the previous posts here at RobotNext on snakebots.  Read the complete article at  Follow the links below. 

Image source:

The robot children
The brains of the snake robots are still no more advanced than that of a one-year-old, but scientists at SINTEF (Norway) want to bring them up to the level

The robot children –
Tue, 15 Sep 2009 18:07:30 GMT