25 research outputs found

    The Effect of Tail Stiffness on a Sprawling Quadruped Locomotion

    Full text link
    A distinctive feature of quadrupeds that is integral to their locomotion is the tail. Tails serve many purposes in biological systems including propulsion, counterbalance, and stabilization while walking, running, climbing, or jumping. Similarly, tails in legged robots may augment the stability and maneuverability of legged robots by providing an additional point of contact with the ground. However, in the field of terrestrial bio-inspired legged robotics, the tail is often ignored because of the difficulties in design and control. This study will test the hypothesis that a variable stiffness robotic tail can improve the performance of a sprawling quadruped robot by enhancing its stability and maneuverability in various environments. To test our hypothesis, we add a multi-segment, cable-driven, flexible tail, whose stiffness is controlled by a single servo motor in conjunction with a reel and cable system, to the underactuated sprawling quadruped robot. By controlling the stiffness of the tail, we have shown that the stability of locomotion on rough terrain and the climbing ability of the robot are improved compared to the movement with a rigid tail and no tail. The flexible tail design also provides passively controlled tail undulation capabilities through the robot's lateral movement, which contributes to stability

    Locomotion and Obstacle Avoidance of a Worm-like Soft Robot

    Full text link
    This paper presents a soft earthworm robot that is capable of both efficient locomotion and obstacle avoidance. The robot is designed to replicate the unique locomotion mechanisms of earthworms, which enable them to move through narrow and complex environments with ease. The robot consists of multiple segments, each with its own set of actuators, that are connected through rigid plastic joints, allowing for increased adaptability and flexibility in navigating different environments. The robot utilizes proprioceptive sensing and control algorithms to detect and avoid obstacles in real-time while maintaining efficient locomotion. The robot uses a pneumatic actuation system to mimic the circumnutation behavior exhibited by plant roots in order to navigate through complex environments. The results demonstrate the capabilities of the robot for navigating through cluttered environments, making this development significant for various fields of robotics, including search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and medical procedures

    The Effect of Flagella Stiffness on the Locomotion of a Multi-Flagellated Robot at Low Reynolds Environment

    Full text link
    Microorganisms such as algae and bacteria move in a viscous environment with extremely low Reynolds (ReRe), where the viscous drag dominates the inertial forces. They have adapted to this environment by developing specialized features such as whole-body deformations and flexible structures such as flagella (with various shapes, sizes, and numbers) that break the symmetry during the motion. In this study, we hypothesize that the changes in the flexibility of the flagella during a cycle of movement impact locomotion dynamics of flagellated locomotion. To test our hypothesis, we developed an autonomous, self-propelled robot with four flexible, multi-segmented flagella actuated together by a single DC motor. The stiffness of the flagella during the locomotion is controlled via a cable-driven mechanism attached to the center of the robot. Experimental assessments of the robot's swimming demonstrate that increasing the flexibility of the flagella during recovery stroke and reducing the flexibility during power stroke improves the swimming performance of the robot. Our results give insight into how these microorganisms manipulate their biological features to propel themselves in low viscous media and are of great interest to biomedical and research applications

    Soft Wrist Exosuit Actuated by Fabric Pneumatic Artificial Muscles

    Full text link
    Recently, soft actuator-based exosuits have gained interest, due to their high strength-to-weight ratio, inherent safety, and low cost. We present a novel wrist exosuit actuated by fabric pneumatic artificial muscles that can move the wrist in flexion/extension and ulnar/radial deviation. We derive a model representing the torque exerted by the exosuit and introduce a model-based optimization methodology for the selection of placement parameters of the exosuit muscles. We evaluate the accuracy of the model by measuring the exosuit torques throughout the full range of wrist flexion/extension. When accounting for the displacement of the mounting points, the model predicts the exosuit torque with a mean absolute error of 0.279 Nm, which is 26.1% of the average measured torque. To explore the capabilities of the exosuit to move the human body, we measure its range of motion on a passive human wrist; the exosuit is able to achieve 55.0% of the active biological range in flexion, 69.1% in extension, 68.6% in ulnar deviation, and 68.4% in radial deviation. Finally, we demonstrate the device controlling the passive human wrist to move to a desired orientation in the flexion/extension plane and along a two-degree-of-freedom trajectory.Comment: 16 pages, 15 figure

    Stable Real-Time Feedback Control of a Pneumatic Soft Robot

    Full text link
    Soft actuators offer compliant and safe interaction with an unstructured environment compared to their rigid counterparts. However, control of these systems is often challenging because they are inherently under-actuated, have infinite degrees of freedom (DoF), and their mechanical properties can change by unknown external loads. Existing works mainly relied on discretization and reduction, suffering from either low accuracy or high computational cost for real-time control purposes. Recently, we presented an infinite-dimensional feedback controller for soft manipulators modeled by partial differential equations (PDEs) based on the Cosserat rod theory. In this study, we examine how to implement this controller in real-time using only a limited number of actuators. To do so, we formulate a convex quadratic programming problem that tunes the feedback gains of the controller in real time such that it becomes realizable by the actuators. We evaluated the controller's performance through experiments on a physical soft robot capable of planar motions and show that the actual controller implemented by the finite-dimensional actuators still preserves the stabilizing property of the desired infinite-dimensional controller. This research fills the gap between the infinite-dimensional control design and finite-dimensional actuation in practice and suggests a promising direction for exploring PDE-based control design for soft robots

    Machine Learning-Driven Burrowing with a Snake-Like Robot

    Full text link
    Subterranean burrowing is inherently difficult for robots because of the high forces experienced as well as the high amount of uncertainty in this domain. Because of the difficulty in modeling forces in granular media, we propose the use of a novel machine-learning control strategy to obtain optimal techniques for vertical self-burrowing. In this paper, we realize a snake-like bio-inspired robot that is equipped with an IMU and two triple-axis magnetometers. Utilizing magnetic field strength as an analog for depth, a novel deep learning architecture was proposed based on sinusoidal and random data in order to obtain a more efficient strategy for vertical self-burrowing. This strategy was able to outperform many other standard burrowing techniques and was able to automatically reach targeted burrowing depths. We hope these results will serve as a proof of concept for how optimization can be used to unlock the secrets of navigating in the subterranean world more efficiently

    Design of Soft, Modular Appendages for a Bio-inspired Multi-Legged Terrestrial Robot

    Full text link
    Soft robots have the ability to adapt to their environment, which makes them suitable for use in disaster areas and agricultural fields, where their mobility is constrained by complex terrain. One of the main challenges in developing soft terrestrial robots is that the robot must be soft enough to adapt to its environment, but also rigid enough to exert the required force on the ground to locomote. In this paper, we report a pneumatically driven, soft modular appendage made of silicone for a terrestrial robot capable of generating specific mechanical movement to locomote and transport loads in the desired direction. This two-segmented soft appendage uses actuation in between the joint and the lower segment of the appendage to ensure adequate rigidity to exert the required force to locomote. A prototype of a soft-rigid-bodied tethered physical robot was developed and two sets of experiments were carried out in both air and underwater environments to assess its performance. The experimental results address the effectiveness of the soft appendage to generate adequate force to navigate through various environments and our design method offers a simple, low-cost, and efficient way to develop terradynamically capable soft appendages that can be used in a variety of locomotion applications

    The effect of tail stiffness on a sprawling quadruped locomotion

    Get PDF
    A distinctive feature of quadrupeds that is integral to their locomotion is the tail. Tails serve many purposes in biological systems, including propulsion, counterbalance, and stabilization while walking, running, climbing, or jumping. Similarly, tails in legged robots may augment the stability and maneuverability of legged robots by providing an additional point of contact with the ground. However, in the field of terrestrial bio-inspired legged robotics, the tail is often ignored because of the difficulties in design and control. In this study, we test the hypothesis that a variable stiffness robotic tail can improve the performance of a sprawling quadruped robot by enhancing its stability and maneuverability in various environments. In order to validate our hypothesis, we integrated a cable-driven, flexible tail with multiple segments into the underactuated sprawling quadruped robot, where a single servo motor working alongside a reel and cable mechanism regulates the tail’s stiffness. Our results demonstrated that by controlling the stiffness of the tail, the stability of locomotion on rough terrain and the climbing ability of the robot are improved compared to the movement with a rigid tail and no tail. Our findings highlight that constant ground support provided by the flexible tail is key to maintaining stable locomotion. This ensured a predictable gait cycle, eliminating unexpected turning and slipping, resulting in an increase in locomotion speed and efficiency. Additionally, we observed the robot’s enhanced climbing ability on surfaces inclined up to 20°. The flexibility of the tail enabled the robot to overcome obstacles without external sensing, exhibiting significant adaptability across various terrains
    corecore