Articulated mechanisms lie at the center of most robotic systems. I present a modular approach for constructing highly articulated structures using large collectives of homogeneous elements.
The components of MACROs are stiffness-based custom linear actuators, termed Active Cells, and passive, compliant nodes. Through the networked combination of Active Cells, nodes and power electronics, I demonstrate the design and construction of Modular Active Cell Robots (MACROs). MACROs serve to first illustrate the possibility of designing homogeneous shape-changing structures using few and simple components. In addition, through computational studies into the topology of MACRO meshes, fundamental mechanical properties of mesh architectures are discovered. Since broader use of MACROs requires study and control of the mechanisms, I develop a computational model of Active Cells and MACRO mechanisms and present a strategy for shape-control of MACRO meshes once a specific configuration of the mesh is constructed.
I construct proof-of-concept MACRO mechanisms in hardware using the entire breadth of computational tools and insights that are described before, validating the computational model of MACRO meshes, the choice of mesh architecture for a given task, and the algorithm for shape control. These demonstrations serve to highlight the practical possibility of constructing large shape changing structures and mechanisms for performing robotic tasks.
|Advisor:||Dollar, Aaron M.|
|School Location:||United States -- Connecticut|
|Source:||DAI-B 79/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Modular Robots, Networked Robots, Robotics, Small Structures|
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