AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fifth International FLAIRS Conference

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Leg Design for a Praying Mantis Robot
Ramon A. Cardona, David S. Touretzky

Last modified: 2012-05-16

Abstract


The praying mantis uses its front legs for locomotion, prey capture and feeding. Inspired by this dexterity, we began designing a hexapod robot that could use its front legs for both locomotion and manipulation. Our current work focuses on the middle and back legs of the robot. We designed a five degree of freedom leg, using a gimbal to form three intersecting axes of rotation at the hip to imitate a ball-and-socket joint. There is also a one degree of freedom knee, and an unpowered ankle joint. A key requirement for the design is to provide for standing postures in which the robot can support itself without putting any load on the leg servos. This will increase servo life span. We simulated the leg by constructing a 3D model in SolidWorks, then importing that model into the Mirage simulator, part of the Tekkotsu robotics framework. A functioning prototype was then built using Robotis Dynamixel RX-64 servos. This was a geometrically simplified version of the original model, but it retained every motor capability of the original design. We tested the prototype using two types of pre-specified motion sequences, with good results.

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