This prototype smartphone casing could carry your mobile to a charger for you


  • Technology
  • Friday, 14 Aug 2020

In a demonstration video, researchers showed how the lightweight CaseCrawler can support objects up to 300g. — Screengrab from YouTube

Are you always forgetting to charge your smartphone? Or maybe you remembered but the charger is always just out of reach, and you’re too comfy to get up?

Maybe what you need is a phone case that can crawl to a charging pad for you.

A group of roboticists from the Biorobotics Laboratory at the Seoul National University in South Korea is developing CaseCrawler, a smartphone case with small robotics legs underneath the cover that will help the device to move around autonomously or independently.

In a YouTube demonstration video, a researcher showed how CaseCrawler can move on its own to reach a wireless charging pad. Once it arrives, the CaseCrawler is able to retract its tiny legs to create a flat surface so it can rest on the pad to start the charging process.

The CaseCrawler robot without its smartphone casing measures 16mm in height and weighs in at 22.7g. The researchers claimed in the YouTube video that the lightweight CaseCrawler can carry objects of up to 300g in weight, which is 13x its body weight.

Reseachers even demonstrated how CaseCrawler can be fitted with a small handheld camera like a GoPro on top to record the view from hard to reach places.

The video also demonstrated that the CaseCrawler can climb over obstacles of up to 16mm, which is roughly around the size of a 200-page book laid flat on the table.

IEE Spectrum reported that when the robot is fitted with the casing, it measures 24mm thick with 82 grams in weight and includes a small battery for power.

It explained that the robot can move itself forward and retract its joints like actual human legs due to the crank slider and leg linkage mechanism attached to a motor through a gearbox.

As for what’s next, the report stated that researchers are planning to explore how it can make other objects move autonomously as well.

Researchers said that with the right sensing and control functions, the robot may be able to collect data or return itself to the owner as needed in the future.

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