New Pneumatic Rubber Leg Mechanism for Omnidirectional Locomotion
Mohamed Najib Ribuan, Koichi Suzumori, and Shuichi Wakimoto
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Okayama University, 3-1-1 Tsushima-naka, Kita-ku, Okayama 700-8530, Japan
This paper describes a new pneumatic rubber leg mechanism for omnidirectional locomotion. The new mechanism was adopted from a pneumatic balloon actuator where translation and bending motions are produced as a result of balloon deformation. It was constructed using five chambers: one on the top and centered over four bottom chambers arranged in a square. Several possible designs were simulated to achieve the optimal design using a non-linear finite element analysis that considered the design parameters and the geometrical and material non-linearity of the elements. Prototyping was then performed using a rapid and efficient silicone rubber molding fabrication process based on computer-aided design and manufacturing. The experimental results were in good agreement with the analytical results. In conclusion, we have established a new rubber leg mechanism with a high degree of freedom to realize omnidirectional locomotion for a soft robot base, delicate object conveyance, and / or microscope stage applications.
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