Navigating confined spaces that are inaccessible to humans is an important goal of robotics and a challenge for robot design and control. One of the methods for this task is the simultaneous inversion and inversion of the two ends of a toroidal membrane that makes up the robotic body.
A recent study published on arXiv.org presents a novel self-propelled soft moving toroidal robot. It continuously recycles an air-filled membrane using a motorized device that sits inside the pressurized part of the robot body.
The robot only needs a control signal to move and can adapt to obstacles in its environment. Researchers demonstrate that the robot can successfully navigate a cluttered environment, fit through an aperture, and climb a pipe. It can support significant weight without slipping while climbing steep climbs and climbs with motor torque independent of the force used to arm the robot against its environment.
There are many places that are inaccessible to humans where robots can help deliver sensors and equipment. Many of these spaces have three-dimensional passageways and uneven terrain that pose challenges for robot design and control. Averaging toroidal robots, which move through simultaneous reversal and reversal of their body’s contents, are promising for navigation in these types of spaces. We present a new soft moving toroidal robot that propels itself using a motorized device inside a membrane filled with air. Our robot requires only a control signal to move, which can conform to its environment, and climb vertically with a motor torque that is used to propel the robot against its environment. independent of force. We obtain and validate models of the forces involved in its motion, and we demonstrate the robot’s ability to navigate a maze and climb a pipe.
Research Article: Badillo Perez, NG and Codd, MM, “Self-Propelled Soft Averting Toroidal Robot for Navigation and Climbing in Confined Space”, 2022. Link of Paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/2203.14455
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSlkCkNAT44