Design and Control of a Cable-Driven Articulated Modular Snake Robot
Racioppo, Peter Charles
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This thesis presents the design and control of a cable-actuated mobile snake robot. The goal of this research is to reduce the size of snake robots and improve their locomotive efficiency by simultaneously actuating groups of links to fit optimized curvature profiles. The basic functional unit of the snake is a four-link, single degree of freedom module that bends using an antagonistic cable-routing scheme. Elastic elements in series with the cables and the coupled nature of the mechanism allow each module to detect and automatically respond to obstacles. The mechanical and electrical designs of the bending module are presented, with emphasis on the cable-routing scheme, key optimizations, and the use of series elastic actuation. An approximate expression for the propulsive force generated by a snake as a function of its articulation (i.e. the number of links it contains divided by its body length) is derived and a closed-form approximation for the optimal phase offset between joints to maximize the speed of a snake is obtained by simplifying a previous result. A simplified model of serpentine locomotion that considers the forces acting on a single link as it traverses a sinusoid is presented and compared to a detailed multibody dynamic model. Control strategies for snake robots with coupled joints are developed, along with a feedback linearization of the joint dynamics. Experimental studies of force control, locomotion, and adaptation to obstacles using a fully integrated prototype are presented and compared with simulated results.
- Masters Theses