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Robomechanics Lab: Wall Climbing with Microspines

Climbing robots can operate in steep and unstructured environments that other ground robots cannot access. Robots like LORIS and T-RHex use compliant arrays of small hooks called microspines to scale rocky surfaces, enabling scientific exploration of cliff faces and subterranean caves. The development of these robots involves aspects ranging from mechanism design and system integration to low-level force control and high-level path planning.

This work aims to marry the dynamic ground locomotion of RHex[1], a cockroach- inspired hexapod, with the wall climbing capability of microspine robots such as RiSE[2] in a single, robust platform. I accomplished this through redesign of the RHex legs to achieve the optimal compliance for both walking and climbing.

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I wrote Matlab scripts that used Castigliano's theorem of energy methods to determine the optimal cross sectional area of the semicircular member for various materials ranging from 3D printed PLA plastic to low-carbon steel. 

Next, I used Solidworks FEA to simulate the real-world conditions each leg & microspine would be in. This model shows where the stresses on the geometry are localized. Take a look at the poster below for more details. 

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