WP3 Design and Implementation of Experimental Robots
Action 3-1: Design and development of a four-legged robot (NTUA). Using the previous WPs as input, the specifications of the quadruped to be developed will be set. The main aspects, which will be considered for the quadruped design are dynamic motion and movement on non-flat terrain (stability). Other aspects, such as speed, energy consumption and complexity, will also be taken in consideration, but will not have a primal role in the design. As mentioned in the modelling phase, the robot will most likely have 4 DOFs at each leg and a passive or active joint on the main body, which will have functionality similar to the spinal movement in animals. The robot size, weight, leg length, number of actuators etc., will be determined through the outcome of WP1 and WP2. The quadruped will then be built according to the determined specs. The actuators for the legs will most likely be brushless DC motors, while series-elastic actuator type will also be considered and all rotary joints will be equipped with digital encoders. The main body will be equipped with pitch and roll sensors, accelerometers, and any other sensors needed by the control algorithm, as well as a powerful embedded PC (PC104), which will act as a control unit. The communication with the sensors, motor drives, encoders and any other subsystem will be done using a new module with 100 Mbps Ethernet interface, which is currently being developed by NTUA. Each sensor and actuator will be interfaced to this generic module and will communicate with the central unit with the central control unit with much higher speed than the currently used CAN bus, allowing a much larger amount of necessary information to be sent and received by each module. Furthermore, it will be very easy to add more sensors if needed.
Action 3-2: Design and development of multi-legged robots (FORTH). A series of pedundulatory prototypes of various morphologies, sizes and capabilities will be developed based on the guidelines obtained by the computational studies of WP1 and WP2. These will be considerably enhanced variants of the current ones, featuring a modular, segmented design. Each segment will employ flexible elements and appendages, and integrate actuators, sensing elements, control and communication electronics, as well as power modules, in support of a distributed control architecture. The use of non- conventional actuation technologies (e.g., shape-memory-alloys), as well as scaling and optimization of these robotic systems by novel evolutionary design methodologies will be investigated.