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Proceedings Paper

Design and analysis of elastodynamic locomotion for robotic insects
Author(s): Nicolae O. Lobontiu; M. Kurt Gordon; Gregory Fischer; Ephrahim Garcia; Michael Goldfarb
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Paper Abstract

One of the critical problems in the design of autonomous insect-like mobile structures is power consumption. The independent control of several legs is energetically expensive, while the energy capacity of typical electrochemical batteries is quite small. The net result is autonomous robotic insects that have extremely limited range. The authors propose an alternative approach to this problem that enables autonomous robotic insects to exhibit extremely high movement efficiency, and thus are capable of long range missions. Specifically, the desired limb motion is obtained by designing a lightly-damped skeletal structure and exciting the skeletal structure at an appropriate resonance. The approach is called elastodynamic locomotion. Rather than altering the open-loop dynamics of the machine, as is the case with conventional-scale machine control, the control actuator serves only as an excitation source that excites the open-loop dynamics of the skeleton structure. Since the motion of the insect limbs operate at their structural resonance, the acceleration and deceleration for each motion (i.e.: stride for a walking machine) requires little power, which results in a highly efficient machine. Since the motion of the insect limbs is determined by design and not by control, the primary focus of this work is in the design of a skeletal structure that will exhibit walking motion when vibrationally excited. The paper presents some insect designs that will generate a walking motion with minimal actuation. Also analyzed are the characteristic features of the gaits produced by each design.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 October 1998
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3519, Microrobotics and Micromanipulation, (5 October 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.325732
Show Author Affiliations
Nicolae O. Lobontiu, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
M. Kurt Gordon, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Gregory Fischer, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Ephrahim Garcia, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Michael Goldfarb, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3519:
Microrobotics and Micromanipulation
Armin Sulzmann; Bradley J. Nelson, Editor(s)

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