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DASH

An insect-inspired robot that features six flipper legs and a flat, rectangular body sits in the palm of a hand.
DASH fits in the palm of your hand. Photo: Paul Birkmeyer

DASH is a little insect-inspired robot designed for search-and-rescue and remote sensing applications. It can run, climb over obstacles, and survive falls from any height (just don't step on it).

Creator

University of California at Berkeley

Year
2009
Country
United States 🇺🇸
Categories
Features
A DASH demo. Video: UC Berkeley

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Appearance

Neutral

Did you know?

DASH stands for "Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod."

A six-flippered robot with a rectangular body navigates climbing up a wood step.
DASH negotiates a step. Photo: Paul Birkmeyer

History

Created by Paul Birkmeyer and Prof. Ronald Fearing at the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley, DASH is extremely lightweight and robust, and uses a single DC motor to power the legs and a small servomotor to slightly deform the robot's body, making it turn left or right. DASH went through several dozen revisions until its creators arrived at the final version. This was possible due to the inexpensive materials used and the rapid prototyping manufacturing processes used to make the robot. DASH has since been succeeded by CLASH, a small hexapod that leverages the lessons of DASH to create climbing robotic platform.

The robot moves over a pile of rocks.
DASH climbs through rocks. Photo: Paul Birkmeyer

Specs

Overview

Lightweight, inexpensive, and robust design. Capable of running at speeds of 1.5 m/s, or 15 times its own body length per second.

Status

Inactive

Year

2009

Website
Width
10 cm
Height
5 cm
Length
10 cm
Weight
0.016 kg
Speed
5.4 km/h
Sensors

Three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope. Cellphone camera optional.

Actuators

One brushed DC motor (for moving the legs) and one shape-memory-alloy servomotor (for turning).

Degrees of Freedom (DoF)
2
Materials

Paper composite body with polymer flexure joints.

Compute

40 MHz microcontroller

Software

Custom firmware

Power

3.7-V 50-mAh lithium-polymer battery, 30 minutes to several hours of operation, depending on use.

Cost
$100 (approximate cost of parts)