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A bot to go where no bot has gone before

Japan's Topy introduces models for agility


The competition for robots in hostile situations has never been hotter, so manufacturers are understandably trying whatever they can to distinguish themselves. But rather than focus on more common attributes such as speed and power, Japan's Topy is opting for agility.

The company has introduced two new "crawler robots" designed to negotiate tight spaces, such as under floors, with a large LCD built into their controllers for close inspection. To get them down to more manageable fighting weights, Fareastgizmos says Topy lightened its crawler belts by 25 percent. But the larger model can still climb over gaps of up to 7 inches and handle vertical angles of up to 45 degrees (which conjures images of that scene in RoboCop when the rival machine falls down the stairs).

Still, it'll be tough to crack a marketed overcrowded with bots of every category imaginable. Our favorite remains the "Chaos" for its name alone.