Friday, September 3, 2010

Mechanics of a ballistic roll - Part 1

First off... I would like to remind you of the behavior that I'm studying. See the ballistic rolls and flips in some leaf roller caterpillars, and check out my biomimetic GoQBot's performance.

To study the the dynamics of such impressive behavior, the robot has been a great tool to test hypotheses and facilitated the collection of mechanical and control data. Back in April this year, I successfully collected the kinematics of GoQBot using my own adaptation of the VICON motion capture system. However, the kinematics data alone only tells half of the story. We could compute the angular momentum as well as the linear momentum from pure motion tracking. However, there is no data on the mechanical power output and loading condition. To extend the analysis, I took one of the force beams I used for caterpillar ground reaction forces measurement and implemented it for robot GRF collection. In fact, VICON system has built-in capabilities to take in force-plate measurements and any other analog signals.With some modification and instrumentation, I obtained GRF in two directions from the head anchor and simultaneous recording of the actuator current draw during the high speed kinematics recording. Here are some very preliminary data.I'm currently processing the data to calculate the center of mass and the development of angular momentum. More results are coming!!

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