Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mechanics of a ballistic roll - Part 2

GoQBot is a soft-bodied robot designed to simulate the ballistic rolling escape behavior in caterpillars. The robot mimics the scale, timing and morphing of the behavior while allowing us to explore the control parameters and perform dynamics tracking. Please refer to earlier posts for more background information.
Kinematics tracking can be very tricky especially with high speed erratic movements. In order to compute the angular momentum of GoQBot, we must know the mass distribution of the robot as it deforms quickly within the 0.2 second window. One way to do it is to break down the body into many segments and track each segment individually. However, that requires installing more than twenty 1-mm size IR emitters on a small soft body no longer than 12cm. The soldering would be simply a torture, not to mention the wiring. Luckily, there is an alternative: kinematics-based model extrapolation.The idea is to constrain a virtual model of the GoQBot using the five IR-marked coordinates as the reference. By applying some deformation characteristics on the model, I can easily extrapolate the positions of every bit of the robot. This is exactly what I have done.

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