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Terrain

X-RHex-Light shows off its obstacle beating agility

Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves.  Read More

Electric wheelchair fitted with laser line striper and other terrain assistance devices. C...

Many of the greatest civilian innovations can be traced back to military origins. Penicillin, radar, satellites and the Internet, just to name a few. So it is not uncommon for technologies developed for fighting wars to be found to have wider applications. The following idea is an example of this adaptation and is inspired by the important need of disabled veteran soldiers for independence and mobility. By using terrain sensing control systems designed for the guidance of autonomous vehicles on the battlefield, researchers have begun developing a system that will allow wheelchair users to access more areas than ever before.  Read More

The strap-on tank means flat tires are a thing of the past

If you thought replacing the wheels of a Subaru WRX STi with a Mattracks rubber track system was impressive, take a look at the strap-on tank that turns your old rust-bucket into a half tank, half car, true all-terrain vehicle.  Read More

On test: the lunar truck simulator at the Rock Yard of Houston's Johnson Space Center

It looks like seventies science fiction television is (finally) going to meet reality with NASA planning to set up a real Moonbase Alpha by 2020. In order to meet the heavy load/long range transport requirements of life on the moon, NASA recently teamed up with Goodyear to review and redesign some 40-year-old technology in the shape of the airless tires first seen on the Lunar Rover Vehicles of Apollo missions.  Read More

From street car to mean marine ... this concept car's tires are extremely adaptable

Despite the fact that very few make it off the drawing board to prototype stage, ‘go anywhere’ concept cars are an ever popular subject for budding auto designers and car lovers alike. And why not - they allow us to forget about the pesky practicalities of design and tiresome economics and imagine what could be. The latest to cross our desk - the Amphibious Hybrid concept vehicle - is a case of Bond meets the Transformers with its automatically adjusting tire design that morphs to ensure maximum grip on any given terrain including ice and water, where it becomes a kind of three wheel paddle boat.  Read More

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