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Research Papers

Climbot: A Bio-Inspired Modular Biped Climbing Robot—System Development, Climbing Gaits, and Experiments

[+] Author and Article Information
Yisheng Guan

Professor
Biomimetic and Intelligent Robotics Lab (BIRL),
School of Electromechanical Engineering,
Guangdong University of Technology,
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China
e-mail: ysguan@gdut.edu.cn

Li Jiang

School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering,
Wuyi University,
Jiangmen, Guangdong 529020, China

Haifei Zhu

Biomimetic and Intelligent Robotics Lab (BIRL),
School of Electromechanical Engineering,
Guangdong University of Technology,
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China

Wenqiang Wu

School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering,
Guangzhou University,
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510006, China

Xuefeng Zhou

Automation Institute of Guangzhou,
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510070, China

Hong Zhang

Professor
Department of Computing Science,
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB T6G 2E8, Canada
e-mail: hzhang@ualberta.ca

Xiangmin Zhang

Professor
School of Mechanical and
Automotive Engineering,
South China University of Technology,
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510640, China

1Corresponding author.

2Also with Biomimetic and Intelligent Robotics Lab (BIRL), School of Electromechanical Engineering, Guangdong University of Technology, Guangzhou 510006, Guangdong, China.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received April 30, 2013; final manuscript received September 20, 2014; published online January 27, 2016. Editor: Vijay Kumar.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 8(2), 021026 (Jan 27, 2016) (17 pages) Paper No: JMR-13-1085; doi: 10.1115/1.4028683 History: Received April 30, 2013; Revised September 20, 2014

Agriculture, forestry, and building industry would be prospective fields of robotic applications. High-rise tasks in these fields require robots with climbing skills. Motivated by these potential applications and inspired by animal climbing motion, we have developed a biped climbing robot—Climbot. Built with a modular approach, the robot consists of five joint modules connected in series and two special grippers mounted at the ends, with the scalability of changing degrees-of-freedom (DoFs). With this configuration, Climbot not only has superior mobility on multiple climbing media, such as poles and trusses, but also has the function of grasping and manipulating objects. It is a kind of “mobile” manipulator and represents an advancement in development of climbing robots. In this paper, we first present the development of this climbing robot with modular and bio-inspired methods, and then propose and compare three climbing gaits based on the unique configuration and features of the robot. A series of challenging and comprehensive experiments with the robot climbing in a truss and performing an outdoor manipulation task are carried out, to illustrate the feasibility, the features, the climbing, and manipulating functions of the robot, and to verify the effectiveness of the proposed gaits.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Climbing animals and a bio-inspired mechanical model

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Fig. 2

Transmission chain of the joint modules

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Fig. 3

Components of the pancake-type harmonic drive: (a) the original and (b) the customized

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Fig. 4

Pictures of the two joint modules: (a) T100 (T-type module) and (b) I100 (I-type module)

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Fig. 5

Transmission chain of the gripper module

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Fig. 6

Pictures of the gripper module: (a) side view and (b) front view

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Fig. 7

Important parameters for grasping with the gripper

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Fig. 8

Pictures and kinematic models of the modular robots: (a) 6DoFs: 4T + 2I, (b) 6DoFs: 3T + 3I, and (c) 5DoFs: 3T + 2I

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Fig. 9

Hardware architecture of the robot

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Fig. 10

Software architecture of the robot

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Fig. 11

The kinematic model for climbing transition

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Fig. 12

The inchworm gait

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Fig. 13

The swinging-around gait

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Fig. 14

The flipping-over gait

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Fig. 15

Simulation of the robot climbing poles: (a) climbing simulation and (b) pole orientation

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Fig. 16

Torque and power of T0 with the inchworm gait

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Fig. 17

Torque and power of I1 with the swinging-around gait

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Fig. 18

Torque and power of T1 with the flipping-over gait

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Fig. 19

Tests of the maximum end velocity and climbing velocity: (a) maximum end velocity and (b) maximum climbing velocity

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Fig. 20

Climbot climbing a truss with the three gaits: (a) climbing a vertical pole with the swinging-around gait, (b) transiting between poles with the flipping-over gait, and (c) climbing a horizontal pole with the inchworm gait

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Fig. 21

Climbot transiting among poles in a truss

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Fig. 22

Climbot climbing an outdoor pole and unscrewing a bulb

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Fig. 23

Possibility of transition between two poles in a truss

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