Spectrum showcases a radius-changing wheel for robots built by Seoul National University's BioRobotics Laboratory. Not only does this origami wheel allow for the robot to climb over or under things with ease, but also allows it to change whether it needs to move fast or carry some kind of load requiring more torque.
Unlike most automobiles, most robots don't bother with transmissions at all, because they're heavy and complicated. This means that robots have to be designed to either move fast (which doesn't require a lot of torque), or haul stuff (which does), but they're not great at doing both.
The researchers designed an origami wheel that can do both, by simply changing its radius, and thanks to its origami design, it does this by itself. It's a completely automatic continuously variable transmission, which allows a small robot to either move fast or haul stuff without requiring any additional complexity beyond an origami wheel.
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