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BugJuggler: The 70 ft tall car-juggling robot


July 2, 2014

BugJuggler is a gigantic 70 ft tall robot designed to juggle cars

BugJuggler is a gigantic 70 ft tall robot designed to juggle cars

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BugJuggler is a 70 ft (21 m) tall robot that its designers claim will hurl full-size cars into the sky and catch them again in mid-air. Designed to use a diesel generator, enormous hydraulic rams, and hydraulic accumulators to allow for rapid movements, BugJuggler will not only be impressively large, but exceptionally agile for its size.

To merely call this robot "large" however, is like saying that the universe is just "big." Large only begins to describe the list of adjectives required to label this mechanical monster. Stupendous, enormous, and gigantic are three that immediately spring to mind.

At 70 ft in height and constructed from gigantic pieces of steel, this leviathan would have to weigh in the region of hundreds of tons, and require incredible strength to absorb the forces generated by hurling cars into the air and catching them again. An ordinary crane lifting similar masses straight up is subject to very large amounts of strain in one direction; BugJuggler will need to cope with much higher kinetic forces and huge rotating masses moving at speeds and angles much greater than that which an ordinary crane ever has to cope with.

However, the designers are confident that they can build this gargantuan automaton and have it perform juggling acts with cars for the entertainment of people attending the likes of smash-up derbies, state fairs, and monster truck displays. Given that the design team has constructed mechanisms for experiments on several Space Shuttle flights – one Is the co-inventor of three NASA/JPL patents – and that they have designed, built and operated equipment for the James Bond movie The Living Daylights, they probably have more of a chance of achieving this than most.

The team says that an operator with professional juggling experience will be located in the robot’s "head" and will control its motions using an interface with haptic feedback coupled to high-speed servo valves to operate the hydraulics. As previously mentioned, hydraulic accumulators – acting as storage batteries for the hydraulic fluid – will supposedly allow for the sufficiently rapid and smooth movements required for the robot to juggle cars or other large, heavy objects.

BugJuggler, so named because the designers envisage it juggling Volkswagen Beetles or, is estimated by the team to cost in the region of US$2.3 million to construct. They are currently actively pursuing funding from private investors, joint ventures, revenue sharing and other avenues. Interested parties are welcome to contact them via their website.

No build date has been confirmed for this vehicle-tossing behemoth, though construction has apparently already started on a small-scale single arm robotic juggler. According to the designers, this prototype will be capable of throwing and catching 250 lb (100 kg) items under the control of an operator wearing a feedback-enabled "control sleeve," and will be finished once sufficient funds are secured.

The short video below shows an animated version of BugJuggler in action.

Source: BugJuggler

About the Author
Colin Jeffrey Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV. Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf. All articles by Colin Jeffrey

Beautifully thought up piece by somebody who has no idea what he/she is doing. This is not gonna happen, some crucial details just can't be done. Keywords are structural stresses and existing actuators. Once you add enough of the latter to get to claimed quick movements, your structure carrying them gains weight faster than its abilities are increasing. A race that can not be won. Unless you have a Transformer to cannibalize your hypothetical parts from.

But they should keep working on it, there's always the need for more bread and games for us people who are already yawning at monster trucks juicing each other, while being completely oblivious to our crowd of price-tagged politicians doing the bidding of powerful entities, turning everybody into little obedient cattle-to-be-milked. As long as someone tells us we are honest and hard working we'll do anything they want, and will be happy with the scraps. And we'll even chant verses about being "free".


But why?

Stuart Wilshaw

This has many potential applications that are not mentioned here, such as timber clearing, building construction and demolition, power line maintenance and mobility in extremely rugged environments. Entertainment is just an introductory application, like the airplane was when it was first introduced.


One has to wonder if this is a good use of resources but at least it made me smile. Especially the "oops" near the end. :-)

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