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Research Papers

Hierarchical Kinematic Design of Foldable Hexapedal Locomotion Platforms

[+] Author and Article Information
Siamak G. Faal

Soft Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Road,
Worcester, MA 01609
e-mail: sghorbanifaal@wpi.edu

Fuchen Chen

Soft Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Road,
Worcester, MA 01609
e-mail: fchen@wpi.edu

Weijia Tao

Soft Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Road,
Worcester, MA 01609
e-mail: wtao@wpi.edu

Mahdi Agheli

Soft Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Road,
Worcester, MA 01609
e-mail: mmaghelih@wpi.edu

Shadi Tasdighikalat

Soft Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Road,
Worcester, MA 01609
e-mail: stasdighikalat@wpi.edu

Cagdas D. Onal

Soft Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Road,
Worcester, MA 01609
e-mail: cdonal@wpi.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received August 16, 2014; final manuscript received April 15, 2015; published online August 18, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Aaron M. Dollar.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 8(1), 011005 (Aug 18, 2015) (11 pages) Paper No: JMR-14-1220; doi: 10.1115/1.4030468 History: Received August 16, 2014

Origami-inspired folding enables integrated design and manufacturing of intricate kinematic mechanisms and structures. Here, we present a hierarchical development process of foldable robotic platforms as combinations of fundamental building blocks to achieve arbitrary levels of complexity and functionality. Rooted in theoretical linkage kinematics, designs for static structures and functional units, respectively, offer rigidity and mobility for robotic systems. The proposed approach is demonstrated on the design, fabrication, and experimental verification of three distinct types of hexapedal locomotion platforms covering a broad range of features and use cases.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

The basic structures used in the design of the foldable platforms. (a) The triangular beam and the corresponding crease pattern. The cut in the beam shows how the keys and slots are used to keep the beam from unfolding. (b) Folded joint that resembles the effect of a revolute joint. The hollow patterns are added to reduce the stiffness of the material at the joint. (c) Another method of forming a revolute joint using only a key and a slot. The cut in the beam shows the slot and the key that is locked inside it.

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Fig. 2

The typical structure and assembly process of an insertion lock

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Fig. 3

Design process flow chart that represents the major foldable structure design steps

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Fig. 4

Fully assembled 2DOF hexapod platform with on-board control electronics

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Fig. 5

All the parameters associated with the kinematics of the 6-bar linkage

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Fig. 6

The front (positive peak on the right) and middle (positive peak on the left) feet velocities along the x-axis. The solid lines represent the state of a feet as being active. Blue and green lines indicate the velocities of the front and middle foot, respectively.

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Fig. 7

The crease pattern of the 2DOF foldable hexapod robot. Solid and dotted lines indicate cut and fold lines, respectively.

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Fig. 8

Snapshots of the foldable hexapod robot prototype during a linear forward locomotion experiment

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Fig. 9

Snapshots of the foldable hexapod robot prototype during an in-place turning experiment

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Fig. 10

Fully fabricated 3DOF hexapod platform with on-board control electronics

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Fig. 11

The 6-bar mechanism that is used as the feet of the 3DOF platform. The shading of the coupler curves represent the passage of time. The arrows indicate motion direction.

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Fig. 12

(a) The crease patterns of the different sections of one of the units that form the 3DOF platform and (b) a 3D illustration of the folded patterns

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Fig. 13

Snapshots of the 3DOF hexapod platform going through a triangular path (depicted by arrows on the top row) by keeping its orientation (depicted by white lines) relatively consistent. Range of orientation changes due to imbalances in the body structure are depicted as an arc.

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Fig. 14

Snapshots of the 3DOF platform rotating about an axis close to its geometrical center

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Fig. 15

The experiment result for different loading on the coupler point of the mechanism used in the design of the 3DOF hexapod robot

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Fig. 16

The fully fabricated 18DOF platform with on-board control electronics

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Fig. 17

The DOF of each leg of the 18DOF platform. The different sections of the leg are depicted in this figure.

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Fig. 18

The crease pattern for the units that create the hexagonal base of the 18DOF platform

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Fig. 19

The crease patterns for the coxa, femur, and tibia segments of each leg of the 18DOF

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Fig. 20

Experimental walking performance of the 18DOF hexapod platform in eight directions with 45 deg increments using a wave gait. The total distance traveled after 25 steps, in millimeters, is depicted for each direction.

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