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Lemur IIb: a robotic system for steep terrain access

Brett Kennedy (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Avi Okon (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Hrand Aghazarian (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Mircea Badescu (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Xiaoqi Bao (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Yoseph Bar‐Cohen (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Zensheu Chang (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Borna E. Dabiri (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Mike Garrett (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Lee Magnone (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)
Stewart Sherrit (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 July 2006

Abstract

Purpose

Introduces the Lemur IIb robot which allows the investigation of the technical hurdles associated with free climbing in steep terrain. These include controlling the distribution of contact forces during motion to ensure holds remain intact and to enable mobility through over‐hangs. Efforts also can be applied to further in‐situ characterization of the terrain, such as testing the strength of the holds and developing models of the individual holds and a terrain map.

Design/methodology/approach

A free climbing robot system was designed and integrated. Climbing end‐effector were investigated and operational algorithms were developed.

Findings

A 4‐limbed robotic system used to investigate several aspects of climbing system design including the mechanical system (novel end‐effectors, kinematics, joint design), sensing (force, attitude, vision), low‐level control (force‐control for tactile sensing and stability management), and planning (joint trajectories for stability). A new class of Ultrasonic/Sonic Driller/Corer (USDC) end‐effectors capable of creating “holds” in rock and soil as well as sampling those substrates.

Practical implications

Planetary exploration of cliff faces. Search and rescue in steep terrain. Robotic scouting and surveillance in natural environments.

Originality/value

The technologies developed on this platform will be used to build an advanced system that will climb slopes up to and including vertical faces and overhangs and be able to react forces to maintain stability and do useful work (e.g. sample acquisition/instrument placement).

Keywords

Citation

Kennedy, B., Okon, A., Aghazarian, H., Badescu, M., Bao, X., Bar‐Cohen, Y., Chang, Z., Dabiri, B.E., Garrett, M., Magnone, L. and Sherrit, S. (2006), "Lemur IIb: a robotic system for steep terrain access", Industrial Robot, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 265-269. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439910610667872

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited