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Reconfigurable Robot Joints Utilizing Low Melting Point Alloy
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Reconfigurability is a beneficial property within modern robotics as it provides versatility and flexibility. When sending robots on missions to distant places or into harsh conditions where there is a limited possibility for support, the robot needs to be able to utilize different kinds of properties and functions. Conventional robots would need to carry a number of tools and use different kinds of locomotion and articulation to be able to have the required flexibility and versatility for these missions. In the case the robot needs to pass through a narrow gap, remove obstacles, gets trapped or requires tools for completing tasks, some additional degrees of freedom can help the robot to overcome these difficulties. By providing the robot with reconfigurable structures, the conventional actuation, control and sensing can be accompanied by the ability to respond to changing surroundings, alter shape to perform different tasks and even enable self-reparation. There are several different ways to change shape and gain new properties, some of the methods are developed over more than 30 years. The main focus and objective for reconfiguration is to give the robot a chance to adapt to the surroundings. The majority of studies in the field have been focusing on total shape change using a number of units called cells. This projects aims towards investigating the viability of only having reconfiguration in the knee joints, providing the robot with the ability to walk when flipped up side down. A knee joint was designed and manufactured containing a rotator enclosed in low melting point alloy that enabled the leg to rotate during the liquid phase of the alloy and be fixed during the solid phase. To demonstrate the benefits of reconfigurable structures, a robot with four legs was designed and constructed. All required electronics along with sensing components were selected, implemented and programmed. The resulting robot was able to demonstrate the ability to walk when flipped upside down using the reconfigurable knee joints. It was concluded that the concept could be tested and verified.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-53417Local ID: a6d89e2b-f581-4563-923a-8554aa8d30b7OAI: diva2:1026791
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20141117 (global_studentproject_submitter)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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