TRIPILLAR: Miniature magnetic caterpillar climbing robot with plane transition ability
In this paper, we describe a miniature climbing robot, 96 x 46 x 64 [mm3], able to climb ferromagnetic surfaces and to make inner plane to plane transition using only two degrees of freedom. Our robot, named TRIPILLAR, combines magnetic caterpillars and magnets to climb planar ferromagnetic surfaces. Two triangular tracks are mounted in a differential drive mode, which allows squid steering and on spot turning. Exploiting the particular geometry and magnetic properties of this arrangement, TRIPILLAR is able to transit between intersecting surfaces. The intersection angle ranges from -10° to 90° on the pitch angle of the coordinate system of the robot regardless of the orientation of gravity. A possible path is to move from ground to ceiling and back. This achievement opens new avenues for mobile robotics inspection of ferromagnetic industrial structure with stringent size restriction, like the one encountered in power plants.