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Research Papers

Design and Implementation of a Leg–Wheel Robot: Transleg

[+] Author and Article Information
Zhong Wei

School of Instrument Science and Engineering,
Southeast University,
Nanjing 210096, China
e-mail: zwei371@163.com

Guangming Song

School of Instrument Science and Engineering,
Southeast University,
Nanjing 210096, China
e-mail: mikesong@seu.edu.cn

Guifang Qiao

School of Automation,
Nanjing Institute of Technology,
Nanjing 211167, China
e-mail: qiaoguifang@126.com

Ying Zhang

School of Automation,
Nanjing Institute of Technology,
Nanjing 211167, China
e-mail: zhangying295@126.com

Huiyu Sun

School of Instrument Science and Engineering,
Southeast University,
Nanjing 210096, China
e-mail: sunhuiyu2010@163.com

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received October 20, 2016; final manuscript received April 19, 2017; published online June 22, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Shaoping Bai.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 9(5), 051001 (Jun 22, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: JMR-16-1327; doi: 10.1115/1.4037018 History: Received October 20, 2016; Revised April 19, 2017

In this paper, the design and implementation of a novel leg–wheel robot called Transleg are presented. Transleg adopts the wire as the transmission mechanism to simplify the structure and reduce the weight. To the best knowledge of the authors, the wire-driven method has never been used in the leg–wheel robots, so it makes Transleg distinguished from the existing leg–wheel robots. Transleg possesses four transformable leg–wheel mechanisms, each of which has two active degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) in the legged mode and one in the wheeled mode. Two actuators driving each leg–wheel mechanism are mounted on the body, so the weight of the leg–wheel mechanism is reduced as far as possible, which contributes to improving the stability of the legged locomotion. Inspired by the quadruped mammals, a compliant spine mechanism is designed for Transleg. The spine mechanism is also actuated by two actuators to bend in the yaw and pitch directions. It will be beneficial to the turning motion in the legged and wheeled modes and the bounding gait in the legged mode. The design and kinematic analyses of the leg–wheel and spine mechanisms are presented in detail. To verify the feasibility of Transleg, a prototype is implemented. The experiments on the motions in the legged and wheeled modes, the switch between the two modes, and the spine motions are conducted. The experimental results demonstrate the validity of Transleg.

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Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Robots , Wire , Actuators , Design , Wheels , Yaw , Knee , Rotation
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Figures

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Fig. 1

Prototype of Transleg in the (a) legged and (b) wheeled modes

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Fig. 2

Schematic diagram of the leg–wheel mechanism in the (a) legged and (b) wheeled modes. The numbers denote: ① body, ② hip joint, ③ actuator 1, ④ thigh, ⑤ rim, ⑥ spoke, ⑦ knee joint, ⑧ shank, ⑨ docking assembly, ⑩ thrust ball bearing, ⑪ torsion spring, ⑫ turnplate, ⑬ actuator 2, ⑭ wire, ⑮ hole, ⑯ rotary assembly, ⑰ foot, ⑱ bearing pedestal, ⑲ flange bearing, and ⑳ dowel.

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Fig. 3

Schematic diagram of the spine mechanism. The numbers denote: ① pitch actuator, ② front body, ③ pitch turnplate, ④ wire, ⑤ tail end, ⑥ spine joints, ⑦ yaw actuator, ⑧ rear body, ⑨ yaw turnplate, ⑩ head end, ⑪ vertebra, ⑫ silicon piece, and ⑬ ball joints.

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Fig. 4

Geometries of leg–wheel mechanism for explaining (a) the relation between the rotation angle of turnplate and the angle of knee joint, (b) the angles of hip joint in anterior extreme position and posterior extreme position, and (c) the angle of knee joint in the wheeled mode

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Fig. 5

Geometries of spine mechanism for explaining (1) the relation between the bending angle of Transleg in the yaw direction and the rotation angle of the yaw actuator, and (2) the relation between the bending angle of Transleg in the pitch direction and the rotation angle of the pitch actuator

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Fig. 6

Control signals actuating Transleg to perform legged and wheeled locomotion and switch between the two locomotion modes. (FLH, FRH, HLH, and HRH, respectively, denote hip joint of front-left, front-right, hind-left, and hind-right leg–wheel; FLK, FRK, HLK, and HRK, respectively, denote knee joint of front-left, front-right, hind-left, and hind-right leg–wheel).

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Fig. 7

Snapshots of Transleg performing legged, wheeled, and transformation motion in the simulation

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Fig. 8

Snapshots of Transleg performing legged, wheeled, and transformation motion in the experiment

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Fig. 9

Relations between the bending angles of spine joints in yaw and pitch directions and the rotation angles of actuators, the increments and decrements of wires in the spine joints, and the length of wire let out by the yaw actuator and the pitch actuator (solid lines and dotted lines are, respectively, relative to the left and right coordinates)

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Fig. 10

Snapshots of Transleg performing spine motion

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