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Title: Balloon Animal Robots: Reconfigurable Isoperimetric Inflated Soft Robots
This paper introduces a new class of soft reconfigurable robot: balloon animal robots. The balloon animal robot consists of a closed volume inflatable tube which can be reconfigured into structures of varying topology by a collective of simple sub-unit robots. The robotic sub-units can (1) drive along the length of the tube to localize a joint, (2) create pinch points that locally reduce the bending stiffness of the tube to form a joint, and (3) selectively mechanically couple to one another through cable driven actuators to create nodes of the structure. In this work we introduce the hardware necessary to construct the robot, present experiments to guide the hardware design, and formulate an algorithm using graph theory to calculate the number of nodes and node connections needed to form different 2D shapes. Finally, we demonstrate the system with two active nodes and four passive nodes forming multiple 2D shapes from the same hardware.
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2021 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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