This centipede robot solves the dynamic instability problem

A research team from the Department of Mechanical Science and Bioengineering at Osaka University has developed a new centipede-shapedrobotand demonstrated the state of the robot walking in curves and straight lines. This robot can traverse uneven terrain for search and rescue operations or perform detection tasks on other planets in space.

Many animals on Earth have great locomotor abilities. Animals use their legs to Display agile movements and exhibit extraordinary land mobility to traverse different environments. Inspired by animal locomotion, researchers have developed many useful Legged Robots hope that through human-like movements, robots can also achieve agile movements in various environments.

Prior to this, NASA Research Institute also released a giant centipede-shaped robot, but the main research direction of NASA’s robot is in the infinitesensorThe robot released by Osaka University this time focuses more on the dynamic instability generated in the dynamics of multi-legged robots and its solutions.

Despite the excellent ground mobility of legged robots, when engineers try to imitate humans to build biped robots, they find that such robots are surprisingly fragile. Once one of the legs of the biped robot fails or is damaged , it will cause the robot to be unable to move.

Among animals, cockroaches display incredible agility using their six legs, centipedes and millipedes possess high traversal ability over rough terrain and a high tolerance for falls and leg failures, so developers are looking to Turning to a multi-legged robot, let the robot change from bipedal to multi-legged, and solve the problem of continuing to walk when one leg of the robot is injured. The design of the multi-legged robot can effectively share the weight of the robot, and when one leg is injured Still can move on.

Although using a large number of mechanical legs has advantages for legged robots, it will lengthen the robot body, leading to complex interactions with the environment, and many contact legs are physically confined to the ground during locomotion to support the long body, thereby impeding mobility. The potential for agile locomotion using a large number of legs is unknown from a biological and engineering standpoint, and the maneuvering of robots using a large number of legs remains challenging.

A research team at Osaka University has developed a bionic “myriapod” robot that takes advantage of dynamic instability to allow the robot to switch between walking in a straight line and walking in a curve. It consists of six parts and flexible joints, each of which The two legs are connected using a flexible coupling consisting of adjustable screws that can be modified by motors during walking motion.

The key to this research is the dynamic instability of the multi-legged robot. In the early stage of research and development, adding joints to the robot will cause the robot to be unstable when walking straight, and the curved walking cannot be accurately controlled. The controllability of the robot is not high. This is also the direction that engineers focus on. Subsequently, the research team proposed a control scheme for the maneuverability and efficient locomotion of the myriapod robot, incorporating a variable stiffness mechanism in the robot’s body axis, which allows the robot to change the flexibility of its body axis and control the walking process Based on the bifurcation properties of , a simple control program is developed based on these properties, which enables the robot to achieve maneuvering and autonomous locomotion.

This method does not directly control the motion of the body axis, but the flexibility of the body axis, thus greatly reducing the computational complexity and energy requirements during robot motion. “We were inspired by the ability of certain extremely agile insects, which allows them to control dynamic instabilities in their movements, causing rapid movement changes,” said Shinya Aoi, a member of the research team.

According to reports, the robot is mainly composed of standard metal and DC motors, and the appearance is basically hard, except that the torsion spring in the yaw joint of the body part has soft characteristics, however, it is these soft elements that control the entire dynamics of the robot and created various types of motion that greatly improved performance, which appears to be an advantage found in soft robots.

In the current test on the hard floor, the R&D team has collected a lot of data related to the maneuverability of the multi-legged robot and the improvement of the movement efficiency of the controller. The next step is to verify the relevant design in a more complex environment. The current robot only There are torsion springs in some of the yaw joints, but more flexible parts in some of the pitch and roll joints and legs will be verified later.

The Links:   3HAC031683-001 3BSE018103R1

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