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What is the mechanism on the front of the tracks of this robot called? They are also tracks, but they are able to be moved by the operator, and they are able to function as tracks. I've only seen them on iRobot's military robots, and a handful of DIY projects over the years. Does that mean it's patented?

Here are a few pictures from an internet search that show the front flipper track (for lack of a better term):

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They seem to be called 'flippers' in most of the literature.


This review of the iRobot 310 SUGV on Army Technology notes that:

The 310 SUGV has an overall length of 76.1cm and width (flippers on) of 43.7cm. The length with flippers stowed is 70.8cm.


Similarly, this 2010 research paper titled Automatic fine motor control behaviours for autonomous mobile agents operating on uneven terrains also describes the attachments as 'flippers':

flippers

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  • $\begingroup$ There are flippers that don't have tracks on them, so how can I differentiate between flippers with track, and flippers that are not tracked? $\endgroup$ – YetAnotherRandomUser Nov 25 '18 at 16:07
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    $\begingroup$ @YetAnotherRandomUser If you are writing the report, I suppose you could refer to them as 'tracked' or 'driven' flippers if they have tracks, or 'static' otherwise. If you're reading the report, look at the diagrams / pictures. That's the thing about robotics, a lot of the nomenclature has not been standardised. $\endgroup$ – sempaiscuba Nov 25 '18 at 16:38

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