Mechanics and Construction > Mechanics and Construction

Inchworm idea?

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Gopher:
Just daydreaming and came up with an interesting idea for a very tiny bot chassis. Busy with another project for now, but this might be my next project. I wanted to share the idea, see if anyone has done/seen this kind of thing before. Made up of multiple segments, the bot would move the way an inchworm does, through a simple rythmic "humping" movement, starting at the tail and moving forward. Each segment would be a small piece with a high-friction bottom surface and a spine sticking up in the center. Segments would be joined by muscle wire, connected from the top spine of each segment to the base of the previous segment.

The chassis wouldn't be able to support much in the way of electronics or sensors, but without any motors, it's power needs would be incredibly miniscule. At this scale, you could probably make each segment from a paperclip and some of those self-adhesive rubber "feet" used to keep bric-a-brac from scratching wood surfaces, and a few components (two transistors, one capacitor, and a few resistors) I might give a castor to the head so it can support the battery and a few sensors and slide along without actually being lifted (since it would house the heavy and unique components like the battery)

The inchworm propulsion would be terribly inefficient at a larger scale (as illustrated by the lack of any larger creatures in nature that inch along the same way!) but at a small enough scale it becomes a very simple and efficient means of propulsion. Has this been done before? probably; any thoughts or links?

polar bear6:
actually, i have seen this before.
but this can hardly be called a robot, well anyways heres the link, dont laugh it was how i got started with robotics  ;D
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/robots/techlab/sub_biorobotics_build.shtml

Gopher:
That's a pretty neat design; definately a much simpler approach to inchworm behavior than I had in mind! Not as nifty, though; looking around this weekend, I found this snake bot; mine's going to be a lot tinier, and it's not going to be a swimmer, but at the begining of the vid it appears to move by a multi-segmented humping more like what I'm thinking of. Definately thinking of a design without wheels, or at most with a pair of castors at the head and tail, but the propulsion will come entirely from the humping motion. The bot you showed emulates the movement pattern, but the motored wheels still give the propulsion, and the humping movement is just a cosmetic effect.

Still pretty slick. And I wouldn't laugh; we all started somewhere, it looks like a pretty neat little flash tutorial series.

Admin:
by any chance did you find more info on that snake bot? its really impressive! im workin on this underwater robot and still looking at various waterproofing ideas.

if only i understood more than two or three words out of that whole video . . .

sugoi des onay? hai, hai!  :P

Gopher:
Sorry, I didn't see any other info, it just came up in a google video search. Looks like a clip from a japanese TV show to me...

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