Nobody could accuse Graham Mann of lacking vision – he invents prototype robots that could help achieve his dream of humans inhabiting Mars.
Dr Mann, 51, is Murdoch University’s expert in robots, artificial intelligence and human-machine interactions. He has created a six-legged robot capable of navigating the toughest of landscapes – possibly even the dusty, rocky valleys of Mars.
Dr Mann said The Mascot had advantages over its wheeled counterparts.
“The reason for experimenting with legged motion is it gives you a larger range of possible places the machine can get to without getting bogged,” he said. “It can climb over very, very rocky terrain, like an insect or very large beetle.”
He said simplicity was the key – complicated legs would be expensive and prone to breaking down, undesirable if the nearest repair shop is 50 million kilometres away on Earth.
He has also been building a pressurised vehicle for human exploration of Mars, dubbed the Starchaser Marsupial Rover. The inventor is a director of Mars Society Australia, an international organisation that wants to see a colony on Mars.
Robots have the legs for Mars – The West Australian.
I remember many interesting debates with Graham when he was at UNSW in the 1990s.