On the Mechanics of Vibration-driven Robots for Terrestrial and Aquatic Locomotion


Wednesday, 21 October, 2015 - 14:00

Speaker: Felix Becker (TU Ilmenau, Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Room: SISSA - Santorio A - room 133

This talk concerns the mechanics of vibration-driven robots for solid and liquid environments. New prototypes are presented and investigated using analytical, numerical and experimental methods. Established mobile robots are designed mostly for a limited field of applications and artificial environmental conditions. Especially in the vast field of inspection technologies, robot designs are needed, which are light, fast, cheap and equipped with efficient actuators to provide a high mobility. Vibration-driven locomotion systems have a great potential to suit these requirements. They are characterized by an internal periodic excitation, which is transformed to a directed motion due to asymmetric properties of the system. Our aim is to use only one vibration actuator. Robots with bristles are a common realization. Different working principles are studied based on a rigid body model and experimental investigations. A prototype for the locomotion in tubes is presented. To perform a controllable two-dimensional locomotion with only one actuator, it is needed to overcome the limits of rigid body systems. The applied approach uses the frequency-dependent vibration behavior of elastic systems, like beams and plates. Models of continuum mechanics and finite element methods are used and supported by experiments. Based on the investigations, a programmable and remote controlled prototype is developed. The locomotion of it can be controlled on different surfaces by a change of the excitation frequency. The velocity of the prototype is up to 100 mm/s and it can support five times its own weight. Concluding, an innovative prototype with a single piezoelectric actuator for a controllable locomotion on flat ground and floating in fluids is developed. The terrestrial and aquatic locomotion behavior of the robot is investigated. The carrying capacity of it is calculated using a hydrostatic model.