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Proceedings Paper

Systematic study of the performance of small robots on controlled laboratory substrates
Author(s): Chen Li; Aaron M. Hoover; Paul Birkmeyer; Paul B. Umbanhowar; Ronald S. Fearing; Daniel I. Goldman
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Paper Abstract

The design of robots able to locomote effectively over a diversity of terrain requires detailed ground interaction models; unfortunately such models are lacking due to the complicated response of real world substrates which can yield and flow in response to loading. To advance our understanding of the relevant modeling and design issues, we conduct a comparative study of the performance of DASH and RoACH, two small, biologically inspired, six legged, lightweight (~10 cm, ~20 g) robots fabricated using the smart composite microstructure (SCM) process. We systematically examine performance of both robots on rigid and flowing substrates. Varying both ground properties and limb stride frequency, we investigate average speed, mean mechanical power and cost of transport, and stability. We find that robot performance and stability is sensitive to the physics of ground interaction: on hard ground kinetic energy must be managed to prevent yaw, pitch, and roll instability to maintain high performance, while on sand the fluidizing interaction leads to increased cost of transport and lower running speeds. We also observe that the characteristic limb morphology and kinematics of each robot result in distinct differences in their abilities to traverse different terrains. Our systematic studies are the first step toward developing models of interaction of limbs with complex terrain as well as developing improved limb morphologies and control strategies.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 May 2010
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 7679, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications II, 76790Z (5 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.851047
Show Author Affiliations
Chen Li, Georgia Institute of Technology (United States)
Aaron M. Hoover, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Paul Birkmeyer, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Paul B. Umbanhowar, Northwestern Univ. (United States)
Ronald S. Fearing, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Daniel I. Goldman, Georgia Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7679:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications II
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut Kumar Dutta, Editor(s)

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