Infoscience

Thesis

Bioinspired Jumping Locomotion for Miniature Robotics

In nature, many small animals use jumping locomotion to move in rough terrain. Compared to other modes of ground locomotion, jumping allows an animal to overcome obstacles that are relatively large compared to its size. In this thesis we outline the main design challenges that need to be addressed when building miniature jumping robots. We then present three novel robotic jumpers that solve those challenges and outperform existing similar jumping robots by one order of magnitude with regard to jumping height per size and weight. The robots presented in this thesis, called EPFL jumper v1, EPFL jumper v2 and EPFL jumper v3 have a weight between 7g and 14.3g and are able to jump up to 27 times their own size, with onboard energy and control. This high jumping performance is achieved by using the same mechanical design principles as found in jumping insects such as locusts or fleas. Further, we present a theoretical model which allows an evaluation whether the addition of wings could potentially allow a jumping robot to prolong its jumps. The results from the model and the experiments with a winged jumping robot indicate that for miniature robots, adding wings is not worthwhile when moving on ground. However, when jumping from an elevated starting position, adding wings can lead to longer distances traveled compared to jumping without wings. Moreover, it can reduce the kinetic energy on impact which needs to be absorbed by the robot structure. Based on this conclusion, we developed the EPFL jumpglider, the first miniature jumping and gliding robot that has been presented so far. It has a mass of 16.5g and is able to jump from elevated positions, perform steered gliding flight, land safely and locomote on ground with repetitive jumps1. ______________________________ 1See the collection of the accompanying videos at http://lis.epfl.ch/microglider/moviesAll.zip

Related material