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Locomotion Strategies and Mobility Characterization of a Spherical Multi-Legged Robot

[+] Author Affiliations
Bryan Wagenknecht, Dimi Apostolopoulos

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. DETC2010-28153, pp. 1049-1058; 10 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 34th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 15–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4410-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3881-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Mobile robotics has seen a wide variety of mechanisms and strategies for motion in diverse terrain. Some robots employ rolling, some use legs for walking, some can hop, and some are capable of multiple of these modes. In this paper, we present the latest Robotic All-Terrain Surveyor (RATS) prototype as a unique design that can emulate a variety of locomotion modes by virtue of its geometric design and type of actuation. The novel robot has a spherical body the size of a soccer ball with 12 legs symmetrically distributed around its surface. Each leg is a single-DOF pneumatic linear actuator, oriented normal to the spherical body. Thorough investigation of this prototype’s mobility and actuation behavior has demonstrated the feasibility of tipping, hopping, and prolonged rolling locomotion by altering the actuation patterns of its legs. Here we summarize the experimental results of this characterization and present an understanding of the system’s performance limitations in an effort to draw insight for controlling its movements. We also discuss the effectiveness of RATS mobility strategies for varied terrains in light of initial testing on flat surfaces.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Robots



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