Scientists have developed the first 3D-printed, four legged robot that can climb over obstacles and walk on different rough surfaces such as sand and pebbles.
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering mechanical engineering graduate student Dylan Trotman from the Tolley Lab with the 3D-printed, four-legged robot being pressented at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). The entire photo set is on Flickr. Photo credit: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering / David Baillot
Researchers led by Michael Tolley, a professor at the University of California San Diego, used a high-end 3D-printer to make soft and rigid materials together within the same components.
This made it possible to design more complex shapes for the robot’s legs.
Bringing together soft and rigid materials will help create a new generation of fast, agile robots that are more adaptable and can safely work side by side with humans.
The legs are made up of three parallel, connected sealed inflatable chambers, or actuators, 3D-printed from a rubberlike material.
The chambers are hollow on the inside, so they can be inflated.
On the outside, the chambers are bellowed, which allows engineers to better control the legs’ movements.
For example, when one chamber is inflated and the other two aren’t, the leg bends. The legs are laid out in the shape of an X and connected to a rigid body.
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