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Phase Control of a Bio-Inspired Meta-Structural Locomotion Robot

[+] Author Affiliations
Hongbin Fang

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MITongji University, Shanghai, China

Chenghao Wang, Suyi Li, K. W. Wang

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Jian Xu

Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Paper No. SMASIS2014-7745, pp. V002T06A018; 9 pages
  • ASME 2014 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Integrated System Design and Implementation; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting
  • Newport, Rhode Island, USA, September 8–10, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4615-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


This research investigates the rectilinear locomotion of a meta-structural robot inspired by the earthworm. First of all, an equivalent multi-segment model of the meta-structural locomotion robot is derived. By the method of averaging, the robot’s average steady-state velocity is obtained, which is a function of the phase differences among segments. Then a novel locomotion control scheme of adjusting actuation phases is proposed for the robot. It is shown that such control of the phase differences among actuators can significantly tailor not only the magnitude but also the direction of the robot’s average steady-state velocity. Locomotion tests with equal phase difference among segments are carried out on the robot prototype in a horizontal pipe. The predicted phase-velocity relationship is verified, and it is shown that the proposed control is more effective than the more traditional peristaltic locomotion gaits. The presented earthworm-like robot belongs to the general class of metastructures, the concept of synthesizing adaptive structures via modular element design and integration. This study lays the foundation for understanding and advancing the properties of such meta-structural locomotion robots.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Robots , Biomimetics



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