To read this content please select one of the options below:

An inchworm-inspired soft robot with combined functions of omni-directional steering and obstacle surmounting

Jiang Ding (College of Mechanical Engineering, Guangxi University, Nanning, China)
Hanfei Su (College of Mechanical Engineering, Guangxi University, Nanning, China)
Weihang Nong (College of Mechanical Engineering, Guangxi University, Nanning, China)
Changyang Huang (College of Mechanical Engineering, Guangxi University, Nanning, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 13 December 2022

75

Abstract

Purpose

Soft rod-climbing robots have been known to have great potential in a wide variety of working conditions, including cable inspection and pipeline maintenance. However, one of the most notable issues preventing their popular adoption is their inability to effectively cross obstacles or transfer between rods. To overcome these difficulties, this paper aims to propose an inchworm-inspired soft robot with omni-directional steering.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical models are first established to analyze the telescopic deformation, bending, steering and climbing ability of the soft robot. The main modes of movement the soft robot is expected to encounter is then determined through controlled testing so to verify their effectiveness (those being rod climbing, steering and obstacle surmounting).

Findings

The soft robot demonstrated a capability to cross obstacles 1.3 times its own width and bend 120° omni-directionally, evidencing outstanding abilities in both omni-directional steering and obstacle surmounting. In addition, the soft robot also exhibited acceptable climbing performance in a variety of working conditions such as climbing along vertical rods, transferring between rods with differing diameters or friction surfaces and bearing a payload.

Originality/value

The soft robot proposed in this paper possesses abilities that are both exceptional and crucial for practical use, specifically with regard to its omni-directional steering and obstacle surmounting.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51905113), Science and Technology Major Project of Guangxi (GuikeAA22068055), Guangxi Natural Science Foundation (No. 2021GXNSFAA220095), Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (No. 2021A1515410003), and Innovation Project of Guangxi Graduate Education (No. YCSW2021054).

Citation

Ding, J., Su, H., Nong, W. and Huang, C. (2022), "An inchworm-inspired soft robot with combined functions of omni-directional steering and obstacle surmounting", Industrial Robot, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-09-2022-0224

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles