Scientists have developed a cell phone case with robotic legs capable of walking alone to a wireless charger. The accessory produced by researchers at the Biorobotics Laboratory at the National University of Seoul, South Korea, was named CaseCrawler (crawling cover in free translation). The limbs are attached to the back of a case and provide the smartphone with the ability to move itself towards a power source to replenish the battery.
CaseCrawler’s leg technology is similar to human legs. In total, there are six small articulated metal structures 1.5 mm thick that support the smartphone and exert force on the ground, allowing locomotion. These joints are connected to the motor by means of gears and fold just to one side, in order to offer a carrying capacity 13 times greater than its own weight.
As for the other product specifications, the cover is only 16 mm thick and has a total weight of 22.7 grams. The idea is that, if put into production, the design of the robot will be optimized and become even smaller. Currently, CaseCrawler has a small battery in its lower portion that can be eliminated in the future, for example.
The robot has no intelligence of its own or the ability to drive, it simply advances in one direction. However, the small articulated legs are able to dodge small obstacles along the way. In addition, the smartphone loaded by CaseCrawler can use its sensors to find the right direction to the charger.
The researchers’ future plans include using the same system to offer mobility to other objects. The expectation is that the product will also be able to collect data and return to the owner when requested.