Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022 - MD-22

SQuRo can perform various motions,
such as
crouching-to-standing, walking,
crawling, and turning, and can recover
after falling by controlling its
limbs and cervical parts to appropriately
adjust its center of mass (CoM).
Moreover, through field tests, SQuRo
successfully passed through an irregular
narrow passage (inner width of 90
mm), crossed an obstacle with a height
of 30 mm, and achieved stable locomotion
on a slope with an inclination of
15°, which demonstrates its potential
application to inspection tasks inside
narrow spaces.
The robotic rats were designed with high environmental adaptability based on a systematic analysis of the
morphology and motion properties of actual rats. (Image: Qing Shi, Beijing Institute of Technology)
Rats can adapt to narrow spaces owing
to their elongated slim body and unrivalled
agility. To copy the movement
agility, the team made full use of the
morphology and motion characteristics
of rats moving in caves. The team first
extracted the key movement joints
(KMJs) of rats and completed the (degree
of freedom) DOF configuration.
Specifically, they designed 2 DOFs in
each limb to reproduce the limb movement,
2 DOFs in waist and 2DOFs in
head to replicate the flexible spine
movement. Benefiting from a long and
flexible spine, SQuRo can bend its body
and quickly turn around.
Besides copying the morphology of
rats, a robotic rat also features the locomotion
characteristics of rats. To
this end, the team proposed a hierarchical
open-loop controller to achieve
multimodal motion similar to that of
rats. The control framework mainly
consists of three layers: 1) a multi-motion
planner with four basic motion
modes and established a direct relationship
between the control variable
and ground reaction forces (GRFs); 2)
parameter optimization with the consideration
of the stability and actuation
limits; 3) trajectory generation of
each joint. The control framework
makes agile movements and fast transitions
possible.
Due to the biomimetic flexible structure
and multimodal motion control,
Compared with state-of-the-art quadruped
robots of a similar scale, the
newly developed SQuRo has a relatively
more elongated, slimmer body
and smaller weight. The minimum
turning radius of 0.48 body length is
much smaller compared with that of
other robots. In addition, SQuRo can
achieve steady locomotion even after
carrying a load equal to 91 percent of
its own weight, which demonstrates its
superior
payload-carrying compared
with small-sized quadruped robots.
These capabilities allow SQuRo to agilely
pass through narrow spaces and
rugged terrains and perform tasks,
such as detection or transportation in
relevant scenarios.
For more information, contact Ruoxi
Tian, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, at
space@science-bitpjournal.org.cn.
3D-Printed Swimmer Micro-robots Hold Promise for
Drug Delivery
New " micro-rocker " bots powered by a single electromagnetic coil can be injected into living
organisms to deliver drugs or repair injuries.
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
G
eorgia Tech researchers have shown
that robots about the size of a particle
of dust are capable of precise bidirectional
control. By harnessing the power
of a magnetic field generated by a single
electromagnetic coil, the mobile micro-robots
are the smallest of their type.
" There are swimmer microrobots that
move in a fluid with similar size, but
these are the smallest 'walking' robots
that move on a solid surface, "
said
Azadeh Ansari, Sutterfield Family Early
Career Assistant Professor at Georgia
22
Tech School of Electrical and Computer
Engineering.
The Georgia Tech study was recently
published in the Journal of Micro-Bio
Robotics. Currently, most magnetically
actuated micro-bot systems rely on
adding multiple electromagnets to enable
full control, resulting in higher
power consumption and less flexible
setups. Being able to demonstrate that
a single coil setup is enough for precise
bidirectional motion control is a
significant hurdle to clear, according
to Ansari. With the micro-bots now
much easier to operate, the team has
been able to demonstrate micromanipulation
capabilities.
" With what we've shown, we can already
think of applying the micro-bots in a lab
setting, " said Ansari. " You could have hundreds
of robots on the same substrate
working akin to ants in a colony. "
In Spring 2019, Ansari's team showcased
larger (two millimeters long) " micro-bristle-bots "
that could move by harnessing
vibrations. Vibrations are no
Motion Design, June 2022
MD Tech Briefs 0622_2.indd 22
Cov
ToC
5/18/22 10:17 AM
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Tech Briefs Magazine - June 2022

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