Increasing Mobility of Micro-robotics Essay

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Chapter Two
The Review of the Related Literature
Micro-robotics is a field that stresses mobility from being able to fit in tight spaces to being able to navigate varying terrain. Scientists and engineers are often trying to make smaller and more mobile robots as seen in the 3cm long RoACH robot (Hoover, 2008), and the DASH (Birkmeyer, 2009) and iSprawl (Kim, 2006) robots which can reach speeds of up to 15 body lengths a second. A common method to make robots smaller is to reduce the amount of actuators a robot has to both reduce the size of the robot and the weight but this has a negative effect on the robots mobility. The smaller robots become the less mobility they come to have and so in an effort to make robots more
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This project also deals with the use of inertial appendages in under actuated miniature robots. An inertial appendage in the form of a tail was added to a robot to study the effects a tail would have on dynamic steering. Tails can contribute to steering through either a shift in the robots center of mass or through the transfer of angular momentum. The goal of this study is to provide a model of a legged robot that successfully uses an inertial tail for faster and sharper turns. Other factors that can affect the robots movement are also studied such as changing the tail’s inertia, the friction between the robot and the surface, and motor input voltage. There are also two types of tails that will be tested and compared, a symmetric tail with weights on either side, and an asymmetric tail with half the length and a weight only on one side. The symmetric tail separates the effect of changing the robots center of mass as the system is still balanced but the asymmetric tail changes the robots center of mass which may prove either detrimental or beneficial to the robots mobility.
History of Inertial Appendages The idea of inertial appendages first stemmed from a proposal in 1969 by a paleontologist who said that theropod dinosaurs had tails which acted as dynamic stabilizers during rapid or irregular movements. (Libby, 2012) This led to the discovery that other animals such as lizards and cats have been known to use their tails to self-right their bodies in free fall.
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