Research Papers: Mechanisms and Robotics

Design and Analysis of a Hybrid Mobile Robot Mechanism With Compounded Locomotion and Manipulation Capability

[+] Author and Article Information
Pinhas Ben-Tzvi

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 Kings College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canadapinhas.bentzvi@utoronto.ca

Andrew A. Goldenberg

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 Kings College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canadagolden@mie.utoronto.ca

Jean W. Zu

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 Kings College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canadazu@mie.utoronto.ca

J. Mech. Des 130(7), 072302 (May 20, 2008) (13 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2918920 History: Received July 26, 2007; Revised January 25, 2008; Published May 20, 2008

This paper presents a novel design paradigm as well as the related detailed mechanical design embodiment of a mechanically hybrid mobile robot. The robot is composed of a combination of parallel and serially connected links resulting in a hybrid mechanism that consists of a mobile robot platform for locomotion and a manipulator arm for manipulation. Unlike most other mobile robot designs that have a separate manipulator arm module attached on top of the mobile platform, this design has the ability to simultaneously and interchangeably provide locomotion and manipulation capability. This robot enhanced functionality is complemented by an interchangeable track tension and suspension mechanism that is embedded in some of the mobile robot links to form the locomotion subsystem of the robot. The mechanical design was analyzed with a virtual prototype that was developed with MSC ADAMS software. The simulation was used to study the robot’s enhanced mobility characteristics through animations of different possible tasks that require various locomotion and manipulation capabilities. The design was optimized by defining suitable and optimal operating parameters including weight optimization and proper component selection. Moreover, the simulation enabled us to define motor torque requirements and maximize end-effector payload capacity for different robot configurations. Visualization of the mobile robot on different types of virtual terrains such as flat roads, obstacles, stairs, ditches, and ramps has helped in determining the mobile robot’s performance, and final generation of specifications for manufacturing a full scale prototype.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) closed configuration, (b) open configuration, and (c) exploded view

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Figure 2

Configurations of the mobile platform for mobility purposes

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Figure 3

Configuration modes for manipulation

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Figure 4

Configurations for enhanced traction

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Figure 5

Additional possible embodiments of the design concept

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Figure 6

Deployed-link configuration mode of the mobile robot

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Figure 7

Stowed-link configuration mode of the mobile robot (top/bottom covers removed)

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Figure 8

Open configuration mode and general dimensions (front and top views—all covers removed)

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Figure 9

Isometric view of base link track showing internal pulley arrangement

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Figure 10

Side view of base link track showing general pulley arrangement and track tension/suspension mechanism

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Figure 11

A photo of the physical prototype: (a) stowed-link configuration mode, (b) open configuration mode, and (c) and (d) cylinder climbing configuration

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Figure 12

(a) Control Stick No. 1 (C1) motion layout; (b) Control Stick No. 2 (C2) motion layout

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Figure 13

Animation results: (a) surmounting cylindrical obstacles, (b) stair climbing, (c) stair descending, (d) step climbing with tracks, (e) step climbing with Link 2, (f) step descending, and (g) ditch crossing

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Figure 14

Flipover scenario

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Figure 15

Top ((a)—track tension) and bottom ((b)—suspension) spring array force distribution

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Figure 16

Link 2 motor torque requirement—step obstacle climbing with tracks (via Joint 1)

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Figure 17

Driving pulley motor torque requirement—inclined condition

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Figure 18

Platform COG versus load capacity

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Figure 19

Possible configurations for manipulation




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