Matching Items (5)

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Asteroid Mobility Using Screw-Powered Vehicles

Description

The role of robotics mobility is essential in the world of research because it allows humans to perform jobs that are dull, dirty, or dangerous without being physically present. A

The role of robotics mobility is essential in the world of research because it allows humans to perform jobs that are dull, dirty, or dangerous without being physically present. A typical robot environment is one that is smooth and predictable. Screw-powered vehicles (SPV's) have commonly been used in these predictable environment situations such as terrestrial applications like mud and snow. However, a gap remains in SPV's traversing complex environments, particularly debris and granular material. The goal is to study the characteristics of how a SPV might move and generate force in such a granular environment for Earth and space. In our study, the chosen granular environment is soda-lime glass beads for easy characterization. This study with glass beads focuses on two separate approaches. The first approach is using a single screw rotating while the apparatus remains static and analyzing the forces that impact the screw. The second approach includes using a full body craft with two double helix screws and analyzing the translational velocity of the craft. This study presents both experimental and computational results using simulations with Multi-Body Dynamics (MBD) and Discrete Element Method (DEM) software packages to investigate the trends of SPV's in a granular environment.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

Animal and Robotic Locomotion on Dry and Wet Granular Media

Description

Traditional wheeled robots struggle to traverse granular media such as sand or mud which has inspired the use of continuous tracks, legged, and various bio-inspired designs in recent robotics research.

Traditional wheeled robots struggle to traverse granular media such as sand or mud which has inspired the use of continuous tracks, legged, and various bio-inspired designs in recent robotics research. Animals can navigate the natural world with relative ease and one animal, the Basilisk lizard, can perform the amazing feat of bipedal water and land running. Through the observation and study of basilisk lizards of the common and plumed variety, inspiration and development of a robotic platform was completed. After fabricating the bio-inspired robot, parameters unchanged by the animals were varied to characterize the combined effects of stride length and frequency on average velocity. It was found that animals increased stride length at higher saturation levels of sand to increase their velocity rather than increase their step frequency. The BasiliskBot version one was unable to change its stride length as the wheel-legs or "whegs" of this version were set at four spokes. Bipedal running of the robot was slower than quadrupedal running due to sand reaction forces and tail drag. BasiliskBot version two was lighter than the first version and had a range of stride lengths tested with increasing spoke numbers from 3-7. At lower step frequencies and lower wheg numbers, higher average velocity could be achieved compared to higher wheg numbers despite the highest maximum velocity being achieved by the highest number of spokes. A comparison of transition strategies for common and plumed basilisks showed both species chose to jump and swim through water more often than jump and run across water which achieved the highest average velocity. Results of transition strategies study pertain to future developments of the robot for amphibious purposes. Weight experiments were performed to assess the ability of the robot to carry sensors and other payloads. Added weight increased the highest frequency allowable before failure, but also caused failure at low step frequencies that had not displayed failure previously.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Bioinspired Interactions with Complex Granular and Aquatic Environments

Description

August Krogh, a 20th century Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine, once stated, "for such a large number of problems there will be some animal of choice, or a

August Krogh, a 20th century Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine, once stated, "for such a large number of problems there will be some animal of choice, or a few such animals, on which it can be most conveniently studied." What developed to be known as the Krogh Principle, has become the cornerstone of bioinspired robotics. This is the realization that solutions to various multifaceted engineering problems lie in nature. With the integration of biology, physics and engineering, the classical approach in solving engineering problems has transformed. Through such an integration, the presented research will address the following engineering solution: maneuverability on and through complex granular and aquatic environments. The basilisk lizard and the octopus are the key sources of inspiration for the anticipated solution. The basilisk lizard is a highly agile reptile with the ability to easily traverse on vast, alternating, unstructured, and complex terrains (i.e. sand, mud, water). This makes them a great medium for pursuing potential solutions for robotic locomotion on such terrains. The octopus, with a nearly soft, yet muscular hydrostat body and arms, is proficient in locomotion and its complex motor functions are vast. Their versatility, "infinite" degrees of freedom, and dexterity have made them an ideal candidate for inspiration in the fields such as soft robotics. Through conducting animal experiments on the basilisk lizard and octopus, insight can be obtained on the question: how does the animal interact with complex granular and aquatic environments so effectively? Following it through by conducting systematic robotic experiments, the capabilities and limitations of the animal can be understood. Integrating the hierarchical concepts observed and learnt through animal and robotic experiments, it can be used towards designing, modeling, and developing robotic systems that will assist humanity and society on a diversified set of applications: home service, health care, public safety, transportation, logistics, structural examinations, aquatic and extraterrestrial exploration, search-and-rescue, environmental monitoring, forestry, and agriculture, just to name a few. By learning and being inspired by nature, there exist the potential to go beyond nature for the greater good of society and humanity.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Helically-Driven Dynamics in Granular Media

Description

Vehicles traverse granular media through complex reactions with large numbers of small particles. Many approaches rely on empirical trends derived from wheeled vehicles in well-characterized media. However, the environments of

Vehicles traverse granular media through complex reactions with large numbers of small particles. Many approaches rely on empirical trends derived from wheeled vehicles in well-characterized media. However, the environments of numerous bodies such as Mars or the moon are primarily composed of fines called regolith which require different design considerations. This dissertation discusses research aimed at understanding the role and function of empirical, computational, and theoretical granular physics approaches as they apply to helical geometries, their envelope of applicability, and the development of new laws. First, a static Archimedes screw submerged in granular material (glass beads) is analyzed using two methods: Granular Resistive Force Theory (RFT), an empirically derived set of equations based on fluid dynamic superposition principles, and Discrete element method (DEM) simulations, a particle modeling software. Dynamic experiments further confirm the computational method with multi-body dynamics (MBD)-DEM co-simulations. Granular Scaling Laws (GSL), a set of physics relationships based on non-dimensional analysis, are utilized for the gravity-modified environments. A testing chamber to contain a lunar analogue, BP-1, is developed and built. An investigation of straight and helical grousered wheels in both silica sand and BP-1 is performed to examine general GSL applicability for lunar purposes. Mechanical power draw and velocity prediction by GSL show non-trivial but predictable deviation. BP-1 properties are characterized and applied to an MBD-DEM environment for the first time. MBD-DEM simulation results between Earth gravity and lunar gravity show good agreement with theoretical predictions for both power and velocity. The experimental deviation is further investigated and found to have a mass-dependant component driven by granular sinkage and engagement. Finally, a robust set of helical granular scaling laws (HGSL) are derived. The granular dynamics scaling of three-dimensional screw-driven mobility is reduced to a similar theory as wheeled scaling laws, provided the screw is radially continuous. The new laws are validated in BP-1 with results showing very close agreement to predictions. A gravity-variant version of these laws is validated with MBD-DEM simulations. The results of the dissertation suggest GSL, HGSL, and MBD-DEM give reasonable approximations for use in lunar environments to predict rover mobility given adequate granular engagement.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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A Bio-Inspired Algorithm and Foldable Robot Platform for Collective Excavation

Description

Existing robotic excavation research has been primarily focused on lunar mining missions or simple traffic control in confined tunnels, however little work attempts to bring collective excavation into the realm

Existing robotic excavation research has been primarily focused on lunar mining missions or simple traffic control in confined tunnels, however little work attempts to bring collective excavation into the realm of human infrastructure. This thesis explores a decentralized approach to excavation processes, where traffic laws are borrowed from swarms of fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) or termites (Coptotermes formosanus) to create decision rules for a swarm of robots working together and organizing effectively to create a desired final excavated pattern.

First, a literature review of the behavioral rules of different types of insect colonies and the resulting structural patterns over the course of excavation was conducted. After identifying pertinent excavation laws, three different finite state machines were generated that relate to construction, search and rescue operations, and extraterrestrial exploration. After analyzing these finite state machines, it became apparent that they all shared a common controller. Then, agent-based NetLogo software was used to simulate a swarm of agents that run this controller, and a model for excavating behaviors and patterns was fit to the simulation data. This model predicts the tunnel shapes formed in the simulation as a function of the swarm size and a time delay, called the critical waiting period, in one of the state transitions. Thus, by controlling the individual agents' behavior, it was possible to control the structural outcomes of collective excavation in simulation.

To create an experimental testbed that could be used to physically implement the controller, a small foldable robotic platform was developed, and it's capabilities were tested in granular media. In order to characterize the granular media, force experiments were conducted and parameters were measured for resistive forces during an excavation cycle. The final experiment verified the robot's ability to engage in excavation and deposition, and to determine whether or not to begin the critical waiting period. This testbed can be expanded with multiple robots to conduct small-scale experiments on collective excavation, such as further exploring the effects of the critical waiting period on the resulting excavation pattern. In addition, investigating other factors like tuning digging efficiency or deposition proximity could help to transition the proposed bio-inspired swarm excavation controllers to implementation in real-world applications.

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Date Created
  • 2018