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Design and Modeling of a Series Elastic Element for Snake Robots

[+] Author Affiliations
David Rollinson, Steven Ford, Ben Brown, Howie Choset

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. DSCC2013-3875, pp. V001T08A002; 5 pages
  • ASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference
  • Volume 1: Aerial Vehicles; Aerospace Control; Alternative Energy; Automotive Control Systems; Battery Systems; Beams and Flexible Structures; Biologically-Inspired Control and its Applications; Bio-Medical and Bio-Mechanical Systems; Biomedical Robots and Rehab; Bipeds and Locomotion; Control Design Methods for Adv. Powertrain Systems and Components; Control of Adv. Combustion Engines, Building Energy Systems, Mechanical Systems; Control, Monitoring, and Energy Harvesting of Vibratory Systems
  • Palo Alto, California, USA, October 21–23, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5612-3
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


In this work, we detail the design, fabrication, and initial modeling of a compact, high-strength series elastic element designed for use in snake robots. The spring achieves its elasticity by torsionally shearing a rubber elastomer that is bonded to two rigid plates, and it is able to achieve mechanical compliance and energy storage that is an order of magnitude greater than traditional springs. Its novel design features a tapered conical cross-section that creates uniform shear stress in the rubber, improving the ultimate strength. Tests show that the torque-displacement profile of these springs is approximately linear, and initial results are reported on creating more accurate models that account for the element’s hysteresis and viscoelastic properties. Low-bandwidth force control is demonstrated by measuring the element’s torsional deflection to estimate the torque output of one of our snake robot modules.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Robots , Design , Modeling



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