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Researchers from China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) are using 3D printing to improve the design of Search and Rescue (SAR) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots.
In an effort to make such robots more adaptable to terrain, the NUDT team developed a compact wheel-track-leg hybrid system based on a novel transformable mechanism. This integrated device enables the transition from a wheel to a track or a leg, for multimodal transportation.
Research - Paper - Journal - Mechanical - Engineering
The research paper, published in the Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, explains: “Using robots to replace humans brings many benefits, which can not only reduce injury and death but also save precious time.”
“WORKING IN UNCONSTRUCTED AND UNPREDICTABLE FIELDS, THE ROBOTS ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE HIGH SPEED AND EXCELLENT TERRAIN ADAPTABILITY. [HOWEVER], TRADITIONAL MOBILE ROBOTS WITH SINGULAR MOTION MECHANISM CANNOT REACH THE ABOVE-MENTIONED REQUIREMENTS.”
Robot - Wheel - Mode - B - Track
The reconfigurable wheel-track-leg hybrid robot. (a) Wheel mode. (b) Track mode. (c) Leg mode. Image via NUDT.
According to NUDT research, robots using wheels, tracks, or legs each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Wheel robots, for example, are able to run speedily and efficiently on even roads, however, they are limited by climbing ability. Conversely, track robots are said to be adaptable to soft and wet terrains but speed and efficiency are low. And leg robots can tackle various obstacles, yet they are complex in design and control.
Designs - NUDT - Team - Benefits - Transportation
By combining all three designs, the NUDT team sought to leverage the benefits of each of the transportation methods for optimal terrain adaptability. In realizing this concept, the team used 3D printing...
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