|Abstract—We present a novel approach for fabricating tendon-driven robotic systems. Particularly, we show that a biomimetic finger featuring accurate bone geometry, liga- ment structures, and visco-elastic tendons can be synthesized as a single part using a mutli-material printer. This fabri- cation method eliminates the need to construct an interface between the rigid skeletal structure and tendon system. The artificial muscle required to drive the printed tendons of the finger can also be printed in place. This lays the groundwork for a new robotics design approach, where the structural and actuation components are manufactured at the same time.
|Abstract—We propose a minimal yet highly biomimetic hierarchical controller based on a neuromorphic spiking central pattern generator (CPG) consisting of twelve simulated neurons modulated by sensory feedback. The robotic application of this controller is a flexible modular robot which uses 4 DC linear actuators to morph its structure and achieve a crawling gait. Additional behaviors, or adaption of the controller to a different flexible robotic configuration, can be achieved by additional independent “neural modules” consisting of spiking neurons.
|Abstract— We propose a tensegrity-inspired design that em- ulates human lower extremity musculoskeletal connections as a network of rigid and tensile elements. Anatomical combinations of bones and muscles within joints provide structural stability, and manipulate configurations to maintain a standing position or enter a squat-like descent. We validated the predictions of our mathematical model with a computer simulation and a physical prototype. Bio-inspired joints controlled by muscle excitation patterns offers possibilities to revolutionize the innate flexibility within artificial limbs and future assistive devices.
|Abstract— Most robotics literature model the human’s knee and hip as a revolute joint with limited range of rotation. Although somehow close to reality, this approach neglects a critical aspect of these joints, which is their internal flexibility. This paper presents a prototype tensegrity flexural ma- nipulator whose kinematic behavior is inspired by human leg’s gait. This prototype, which considers a hybrid (flexible- rigid) structure of the knee and hip would be able to better approximate real behavior and hopefully lead to a better design of artificial (prosthetic) knees and hips. The behavior of the proposed tensegrity manipulator was firstly predicted using OpenSim simulation environment. The paper reports the comparisons between the simulations, physi- cal prototypes and human leg behavior for a variety of ranges of motions and tension analysis.
|Abstract— We propose a flexible, reconfigurable robot which achieves rectilinear locomotion by coupling structural deforma- tion and directional friction promoting a locomotion strategy ideal for traversing narrow channels. The robot uses two linear actuators to generate structural waves, which propagate through the robot lifting and changing the direction of motion of the contact points (feet) between the robot and ground. The reconfigurations of the robot allow different structural waveforms to alter the robot’s gait. The paper describes the modular lattice structure used to build the robot; the finite element modeling approach used to understand the structural deformation induced by the linear actuators as well as the experimental validation of the prototype robot.