Modular Rod-Centered, Distributed Actuation & Control Architecture For Spherical Tensegrity Robots

Tech ID: 25491 / UC Case 2016-052-0

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20180326577 11/15/2018 2016-052
Patent Cooperation Treaty Published Application WO2017083534 05/18/2017 2016-052
 

Brief Description

The potential for robots to perform complicated tasks in highly dynamic environments, could be challenging for robots with rigid bodies. Accordingly, the emerging field of soft robotics is exploring tensegrity structures – which are isolated solid rods connected by tensile cables. These tensegrity structures are highly flexible, and that makes them suitable for uneven and unpredictable environments in which traditional robots struggle.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed novel methods to position all the required components for tensegrity robots to be fully functional and protected while being transported. This technology keeps the actuators, as well as other electronics components, protected from impact forces, while successfully providing the actuation necessary for locomotion. 

Suggested uses

      • Soft robot architecture
• Exploration in environments with uneven, unpredictable surfaces (e.g. the planet Mars)
• Medicine delivery
• Drone delivery (by dropping them from the sky in a tensegrity robot, which then rolls to the exact desired location)
• Search and rescue in hazardous environments
• Educational toolkit

Advantages

• Increased protection of the actuators from impact forces
• Reduced wiring required to network all controllers and actuators
• Decreased failure rate
• Improved modularity of the system
• The actuation module has the potential to be the base elements to develop tensegrity robots with geometries other than mentioned 6-bar structure

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Inventors

  • Agogino, Alice M.

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