CLOVER Robot: A Minimally Actuated Jumping Robotic Platform

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Robots have been critical instruments to exploration of extreme environments by providing access to environments beyond human limitations. Jumping robot concepts are attractive solutions to negotiate complex and cluttered terrain. However, among the engineering challenges, that need to be addressed to enable sustained operation of jumping robot concepts in extreme environments, the reduction of mechanical failure modes is one of the most fundamental. This study sets out to develop a jumping robot design, with a focus on minimal actuation to support reduced mechanism maintenance and thus limit the number of mechanical failure modes. We present the synthesis of a Sarrus-style linkage to constrain the system to a single translational degree of freedom thus removing the need for synchronising gears, which exhibit high failure rates in dusty environments. We have restricted the present research to vertical solid jumps to assess the performance of the fundamental main-drive linkage. A laboratory demonstrator assists the transfer of theoretical concepts and approaches to practical implementation. The laboratory demonstrator performs jumps with 63% potential-to-kinetic energy conversion efficiency, with a theoretical maximum of 73%. Satisfactory operation opens up design optimisation and directional jump capability towards the development of a jumping robotic platform for extreme environments exploration.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Jul 2022


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