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Mechanism Design and Simulation of the ULTRA Spine: A Tensegrity Robot

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew P. Sabelhaus, Hao Ji, Patrick Hylton, Yakshu Madaan, ChanWoo Yang, Alice M. Agogino

University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Jeffrey Friesen

University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Vytas SunSpiral

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Paper No. DETC2015-47583, pp. V05AT08A059; 12 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5A: 39th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, August 2–5, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5712-0
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


The Underactuated Lightweight Tensegrity Robotic Assistive Spine (ULTRA Spine) project is an ongoing effort to create a compliant, cable-driven, 3-degree-of-freedom, underactuated tensegrity core for quadruped robots. This work presents simulations and preliminary mechanism designs of that robot. Design goals and the iterative design process for an ULTRA Spine prototype are discussed. Inverse kinematics simulations are used to develop engineering characteristics for the robot, and forward kinematics simulations are used to verify these parameters. Then, multiple novel mechanism designs are presented that address challenges for this structure, in the context of design for prototyping and assembly. These include the spine robot’s multiple-gear-ratio actuators, spine link structure, spine link assembly locks, and the multiple-spring cable compliance system.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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