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Proceedings Paper

SATBOT 1: prototype of a biomorphic autonomous spacecraft
Author(s): Janette R. Frigo; Mark W. Tilden
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Paper Abstract

Our goal is to produce a prototype of an autonomous robot satellite, SATBOT. This robot differs from conventional robots in that it has three degrees of freedom, uses magnetics to direct the motion, and needs a zero gravity environment. The design integrates the robot's structure and a biomorphic (biological morphology) control system to produce a survival- oriented vehicle that adapts to an unknown environment. Biomorphic systems, loosely modeled after biological systems, use simple analog circuitry, are low power, and are microprocessor independent. These analog networks, called nervous networks (Nv), are used to solve real-time controls problems. The Nv approach to problem solving in robotics has produced many surprisingly capable machines which exhibit emergent behavior. The network can be designed to respond to positive or negative inputs from a sensor and produce a desired directed motion. The fluidity and direction of motion is set by the neurons and is inherent to the structure of the device. The robot is designed to orient itself with respect to a local magnetic field; to direct its attitude toward the greatest source of light; and robustly recover from variations in the local magnetic field, power source, or structural stability. This design uses a two neuron network which acts as a push-pull controller for the actuator (air core coil), and two sun sensors (photodiodes) as bias inputs to the neuron. The effect of sensor activation on an attractive or repulsive torque (directional motion) is studied. A discussion of this system's energy and frequency, noise immunity, and some dynamic characteristics is presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 December 1995
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 2591, Mobile Robots X, (27 December 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.228988
Show Author Affiliations
Janette R. Frigo, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)
Mark W. Tilden, Los Alamos National Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2591:
Mobile Robots X
William J. Wolfe; Chase H. Kenyon, Editor(s)

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