Scorpio is a bio-inspired self-reconfigurable robot for urban search and rescue missions.

Urban search and rescue scenarios are extremely dangerous, particularly when entering buildings where no prior intelligence information may be available. The ways that search and rescue missions are run currently involves sending out security personnel to specific locations, there are some use of fixed sensors, and more recently use of robotic vehicles in order to collect information. However, the fixed morphologies of currently adopted robotic platforms highly restrict the types of terrain that these robots can navigate.

To this end, Dr. Mohan and his team at Temasak Lab at SUTD looked to nature to help realise mechanisms, locomotion, sensing and autonomous behaviours that would overcome these restrictions. Using the Cerebrenus Rechenburgi, a species of huntsman spider for inspiration, the research group developed a spider-like transformer robot called Scorpio which is capable of rolling and crawling using a flic-flac somersault motion. This robot can be operated in remote controlled and autonomous modes. The geometrical and physical characteristics of the terrain significantly impact the locomotion and navigation of Scorpio. In autonomous mode, Scorpio’s software architecture uses a fusion of color, texture and orientation information to evaluate the terrain, classify it based on a set of pre-defined terrain types, and make appropriate decision on the choice of morphology.