- IceBot, University of Pennsylvania
- first first
- United States (Philadelphia)
The first robot designed primarily with ice as a structural material was developed in 2020 by roboticists at the University of Pennsylvania. IceBot weighs 6.3 kg (13 lb 14 oz), and is composed of electronics and actuators embedded in a body made of ice, with wheels and front-mounted plow also made out of ice. The robot is designed for the exploration of icy planets and moons, where it could be modified or repaired using ice harvested from its environment.
IceBot is an initial design study to explore how it might be possible to create robots made primarily out of ice. IceBot itself is not intended to be particularly capable or sophisticated; the subject of the paper was determining what the most effective methods are for creating structural components out of ice, and how to practically combine them with electronics and actuators. Eventually, the idea is to send computers, sensors, and actuators to icy planets along with a fabrication system, so that IceBots could be built, repaired, and modified on-site as needed.