Development of Mole Robot that does not Need Excavator

Facebook Twitter Share Scrapprint Big Small KAIST researchers imitate mole body shape and habit. Solve complex processes such as drilling and pumps by yourself.

Digging speed 1.46 meters per hour… 3 of existing robots.

Researchers from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) have developed an underground exploration robot that mimics the shape and habits of moles. The name of this mole robot, developed by Professor Myung-Hyun Professor of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University (Future City Robotics Lab), is called’Mole-bot’.

The researchers said on the 4th, “Unlike conventional excavation work that requires a combination of drilling equipment, pipelines, and pumps to perform work, it is the biggest advantage that Morbot can do all by itself.” The researchers expected that the use of the’Molbot’ would not cause problems caused by cumbersome and complicated processes, and would also greatly reduce the environmental pollution caused by the lack of multiple compounds used for drilling.

The Molbot consists of four parts: a drilling part, a debris removing part, a waist for changing direction, and a moving/fixing part. It measures 25 cm in diameter, 84 cm in length, and 26 kg in weight. The drilling department got its idea from’Chisel tooth mole’, one of the moles that scrape the soil with teeth. The debris removal unit is designed based on the shoulder structure of a mole’Humeral rotation mole’ that excavates the ground and removes debris using a large and powerful forefoot. The human rotation mole has an elongated scapula, and the researchers have developed a forefoot structure that mimics it and can remove the front debris. The waist of the Mollebot, which connects the front body that acts as an excavator and the rear body that acts as a mover/fixer, mimics the waist of a mole so that it can be rotated 360 degrees in the ground.

The moving parts constituting the rear body are arranged in a triangular shape (120° intervals) in three units, thereby enabling stable support and movement.
Molbot also has a sensor system that can measure position. It is difficult to use wireless communication in the ground, and it is difficult to use a camera or laser sensor because it is dark. The researchers instead enabled robots to recognize their location by measuring changes in the Earth’s magnetic field data with inertial navigation sensors, including magnetic field sensors. “This makes it possible for the Malbot to autonomously drive in 3D, even in underground spaces,” said the researchers. The Malbot has an excavation speed of 1.46 m/h. “This is more than three times faster than the best method in the world,” the researchers said.

“Molbots can explore underground resources much more efficiently and economically better than existing robots,” said the researchers, as well as exploring new buried resources such as coal seam methane gas and rare earth. It was expected that it could be applied to exploration.

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