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Terradynamics could help engineers design better robots for Mars

March 22, 2013

Terradynamics could help engineers design better robots for Mars

The field of terradynamics is advancing rapidly because Georgia Tech scientists discovered a simple way of describing the motion of legged robots on granular surfaces.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are working to create and advance the field of “terradynamics,” also known as the study of how small legged robots move on and interact with sand and other granular materials. Terradynamics could improve legged robots working in a variety of environments such as space explorations or search-and-rescue missions.

“We now have the tools to understand the movement of legged vehicles over loose sand in the same way that scientists and engineers have had tools to understand aerodynamics and hydrodynamics,” said Daniel Goldman, a professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in a statement. “We are at the beginning of tools that will allow us to do the design and simulation of legged robots to not only predict their performance, but also to optimize designs and allow us to create new concepts.”

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