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

Printable modular robot: an application of rapid prototyping for flexible robot design

Dennis Krupke (Department of Informatics, Group TAMS, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Florens Wasserfall (Department of Informatics, Group TAMS, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Norman Hendrich (Department of Informatics, Group TAMS, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Jianwei Zhang (Department of Informatics, Group TAMS, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 16 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the design of a modular robot with 3D-printing technology.

Design/methodology/approach

The robot consists of a number of autonomous modules coupled by magnetic interfaces. Each module combines 3D-printed mechanical parts with widely available standard electronic components, including a microcontroller and a single servo actuator. The mechanical and electrical connection is provided by a single set of magnets which apply the physical force between the modules and at the same time serve as wires for power and communication.

Findings

The PMR is a full-featured robotic device, well integrated into a simulation framework, capable to execute common locomotion patterns but still extremely affordable (approximately 25/module). Furthermore, the design is easy to extend and replicate for other research and education groups.

Originality/value

This paper explores a novel approach of connecting devices in a complex way by utilizing very simple magnetic parts. A second focus lies on the concept of closely integrating simulation and hardware development, blurring the edge between digital and physical word.

Keywords

Citation

Krupke, D., Wasserfall, F., Hendrich, N. and Zhang, J. (2015), "Printable modular robot: an application of rapid prototyping for flexible robot design", Industrial Robot, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 149-155. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-12-2014-0442

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited