CaseCrawler Gives Your Phone Robotic Legs So It Can Crawl To Charge
Most people are so attached to their smartphones that once the battery is low, anxiety kicks in, and some start to panic if they can’t find their phone. Now, robotics researchers have come up with a way to keep those stresses at bay, with the creation of a smartphone case with tiny robotic legs that allows the phone to crawl its way to a wireless charging pad.
To create the CaseCrawler, researchers from the Biorobotics Laboratory at Seoul National University modified an existing crawling robot. Like battery cases such as the Mophie Juice Pack, the CaseCrawler adds bulk to your smartphone—roughly 16mm on the side containing the electric motor. However, the case could be modernized and miniaturized if it were put into production.
Regardless, 16mm is impressive since the CaseCrawler consists of several rectangle legs with a one-way bending knee. When the legs move in one direction, the knees bend, and the legs push against the ground and propel the robot forward. The case can carry 13 times its weight, with a maximum payload of 300 grams, which is enough to haul the average smartphone, weighing between 140g to 170g.
While the CaseCrawler prototype scurries forward in one direction without having the ability to steer or any intelligence of its own, it’s not delayed by small obstacles in its path; it merely crawls over them. Eventually, the team plans to figure out a way for the smartphone it’s carrying to provide all the sensors and intelligence it needs to navigate around an area like a desk without falling off the edge.
This crawling technology could be used for several applications. A phone automatically finding a charger to top off its battery is one, while another could be a lost phone finding its owner. Imagine if you lost your phone or keys, then you call out its name, and it comes crawling to you. This is the future we’ve all been waiting for.
Watch CaseCrawler haul a smartphone across a table in the video below.
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