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Currently on public display
+ Cyberworlds Gallery
Computers > Robots

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Robot, robotoad III, 1995 - 1999
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Object statement
Robot, Robotoad III, metal / plastic / fabric / electronic components, designed and made by the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 1995-1999
John Billingsley, the Professor of Robotics at the University of Southern Queensland, began his career as a mathematician in Portsmouth in the UK. He developed auto-pilots for the aeronautical industry, and then went on to study control theory. He saw that the best way to apply control theory was via robotics. Professor Billingsley has developed many robots at the University of Southern Queensland, and advanced Australia's standing in the area of Robotics.

Robotics is a field of mechanical automation and computing that has fascinated scientists and the general public alike since the sixteenth century, when Jacques de Vaucanson developed a group of complex automata in France. It is an area of technology that has become as much a part of popular culture as it has of industry. Robotoad captures the imagination with its innovative use, commercial potential and interesting design.

The idea of using an animal's anatomy and movement and applying it to machines is not new. Hargrave did just that in the late 19th century with his designs for human flight. However, the concept is again being seriously considered and used to solve the issues of mobility for robots. In this case the way a toad can effortlessly climb a vertical surface has been emulated mechanically and electronically. Professor Billingsley and his team at the University of Southern Queensland have also developed a spider robot designed to move and climb much the same way as a spider or stick insects does.

The object represents a stage in robotics that has advanced from programming and mechanically automating robots to developing relatively independent thinking and moving robots - such as Honda's Asimo robot.

Damian McDonald
October 2007
Robotoad was developed by a student of Professor Billingsley at the University of Southern Queensland when the student began expanding on work Professor Billingsley had done earlier in the UK. Professor Billingsley had designed robots called NEROs (Nuclear Electric Robots) that could climb vertical surfaces so they could access highly hostile and inaccessible environments in nuclear reactors. Robotoad was developed for potential application in the areas of security, cleaning, surveillance, and assessing and repairing inaccessible areas of construction and engineering.
This version of robotoad is a prototype developed simply to ascend vertical surfaces. Other toads were assembled with different purposes in mind. Professor Billingsley demonstrated a toad that could not only ascend vertical surfaces, but could also traverse upside down. The aforementioned version also had a camera attached to it and could be used as a surveillance robot, or to asses maintenance issues in inaccessible areas.

This object was offered to the Museum by the University of Southern Queensland in 1999 for the 'Universal Machine' exhibition. Robotoad features in the exhibition (now 'Cyberworlds'). It is in full working order and has featured in demonstrations.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Robot, Robotoad III, metal / plastic / electronic components, designed and made by the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 1995-1999

Robotoad is constructed on an aluminium platform that has a perpendicular curvature at the rear, and two feet are attached to the bottom; the compressed air tubing array for controlling the foot suction sits on top of the platform, as does the electronics and cable port that connects to a PC. A cylinder with a hinged aluminium arm attaches the front leg array to the platform. The front legs have two suction feet and compressed air tubing. The toad ascends a surface by attaching itself to the surface with its compressed air-fed feet (a vacuum is created between the inside of the rubber foot and the surface) and then releasing one foot from the surface and moving it up; it re-attaches the foot and repeats the process with the next foot. It moves up in a horizontal letter H movement, that is, one front foot, then the next, then the process is mirrored by the rear feet (under the main platform of the unit).

Designed: University of Southern Queensland; Toowoomba, Queensland; 1995 - 1999

Made: University of Southern Queensland; Toowoomba, Queensland; 1995 - 1999
2008/52/3
Production date
1995 - 1999
Height
350 mm
Width
300 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of the University of Southern Queensland, National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture, 2008
Subjects
+ Robotics
+ Toads
+ Spying
Currently on public display
+ Cyberworlds Gallery
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/319299
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/319299 |title=Robot, robotoad III |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=23 September 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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Object viewed 4184 times. Parent IRN: 2132. Master IRN: 2132 Img: 169327 Flv: H:1944px W:2592px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.