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Technology Factsheet

Gimball

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Airborne System
Reference # : Model No :

Gimball, a flying robot that takes crashing into obstacles in its stride. The Gimball bounces off, rather than avoids obstacles.

Site: *
Industry:Research
Size:Small (1-5kg/2lb-20lb, 10-30cm/4in-12in length )
TRL:Research (1-3)
TRL2: *
Tether: *
Waterproof: *
Payload: *
Reach: *
Manipulator: *

Benefits

Limitations

Comments

Developed by Przemyslaw Mariusz Kornatowski and Adrien Briod from EPFL's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), the Gimball prototype ditches the complex and heavy network of sensors most flying robots use to map a clear flight path for a spherical, elastic cage that allows it to bounce back from impacts and continue on its way.

The Gimball features a double carbon-fiber ring that passively rotates in the event of a collision to allow the robot's gyroscopically stabilized body to stay vertically oriented. This allows it to quickly recover from impacts, a capability that was inspired by insects.

"Flying insects handle collisions quite well," says Briod. "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."

The Gimball prototype has undergone testing in a Swiss pine forest. Weighing just 370 g (13 oz) and fitted only with a compass and an altitude sensor for navigation, the robot was able to maintain its course over several hundred meters while crashing into several trees along the way.

Like other spherical flying robots that are designed to operate where other robots can't, the Gimball has potential in exploration and search and rescue operations. The robot is fitted with a camera, which isn't used for navigation, but to relay images back to emergency personnel.

Operational Experience:

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