Video2_Yoshimura-origami Based Earthworm-like Robot With 3-dimensional Locomotion Capability.MP4 (10.94 MB)
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Video2_Yoshimura-origami Based Earthworm-like Robot With 3-dimensional Locomotion Capability.MP4

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posted on 2021-08-20, 04:26 authored by Qiwei Zhang, Hongbin Fang, Jian Xu

Earthworm-like robots have received great attention due to their prominent locomotion abilities in various environments. In this research, by exploiting the extraordinary three-dimensional (3D) deformability of the Yoshimura-origami structure, the state of the art of earthworm-like robots is significantly advanced by enhancing the locomotion capability from 2D to 3D. Specifically, by introducing into the virtual creases, kinematics of the non-rigid-foldable Yoshimura-ori structure is systematically analyzed. In addition to exhibiting large axial deformation, the Yoshimura-ori structure could also bend toward different directions, which, therefore, significantly expands the reachable workspace and makes it possible for the robot to perform turning and rising motions. Based on prototypes made of PETE film, mechanical properties of the Yoshimura-ori structure are also evaluated experimentally, which provides useful guidelines for robot design. With the Yoshimura-ori structure as the skeleton of the robot, a hybrid actuation mechanism consisting of SMA springs, pneumatic balloons, and electromagnets is then proposed and embedded into the robot: the SMA springs are used to bend the origami segments for turning and rising motion, the pneumatic balloons are employed for extending and contracting the origami segments, and the electromagnets serve as anchoring devices. Learning from the earthworm’s locomotion mechanism--retrograde peristalsis wave, locomotion gaits are designed for controlling the robot. Experimental tests indicate that the robot could achieve effective rectilinear, turning, and rising locomotion, thus demonstrating the unique 3D locomotion capability.