A new strategy to regulate the stiffness of snake-inspired robots

A new strategy to regulate the stiffness of snake-inspired robots

technology By Dec 27, 2023 No Comments

Understanding the Potential of Snake-Inspired Robots

Robotic systems inspired by nature can efficiently tackle problems, such as navigating complex environments and completing missions.

With a growing number of bio-inspired systems designed to replicate animal body structures, including snakes, there have been significant advances in the field of robotics.

Snake-like robots, in particular, offer advantages due to their flexible bodies and sliding motions, allowing them to access confined areas and challenging environments.

However, the successful deployment of snake robots on a large scale has been hindered by difficulties in effectively modulating their stiffness for precise motion and positioning.

The Development of a Novel Design Strategy

Researchers at Lancaster University, Beijing Institute of Technology, and North China University of Technology have recently devised a novel strategy to regulate the stiffness of snake robots.

Their approach, outlined in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, focuses on a snake-like robotic arm with 20 degrees of freedom (DoF).

Nan Ma, Haqin Zhou, and their colleagues aimed to address the low stiffness of existing snake robots with large length-to-diameter ratios, limiting their accuracy and utility in confined spaces.

Their proposed ‘macro–micro’ structure, aided by a comprehensive stiffness regulation strategy, aims to enhance the positional accuracy of snake-like robots navigating confined spaces.

This structure is accompanied by a newly developed kinetostatic model designed to estimate errors and effects on the structural stiffness of the snake arm under different configurations.

Experimental Validation and Results

Ma, Zhou, and their colleagues experimentally validated the proposed models on a physical prototype and control system, demonstrating an average error of 4.3% and 2.5% for straight and curved configurations, respectively.

Utilizing their proposed design, the research team developed a prototype system and successfully adjusted the tension of the cables driving the snake-like arm’s motions by an average of 183.4%.

Implications and Future Developments

This study marks a significant advancement in the field of snake-inspired robotic systems, with the potential to inform the development of better-performing robots capable of modulated precision for completing missions in complex and confined environments.

Such robots could prove invaluable for search and rescue operations, monitoring underground environments, and a myriad of advanced real-world applications.

The findings of this research are anticipated to pave the way for the creation of highly efficient and adaptable robotic systems inspired by the natural world.

Closing Thoughts

The innovative approach developed by Ma, Zhou, and their colleagues presents a promising direction for the future of robotic systems, bridging the gap between nature-inspired design and advanced technological applications. As the demand for versatile and precise robotic solutions continues to grow, the impact of this research is poised to spread across diverse industries, revolutionizing the capabilities of robotic technology.

Ultimately, the potential for snake-inspired robots to navigate challenging environments with unprecedented precision underscores the far-reaching implications of this innovative strategy. As researchers continue to explore the intersection of biology and robotics, groundbreaking advancements such as these are set to redefine the possibilities of robotic systems, extending their impact to a multitude of real-world scenarios.

Source: phys

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