The Society of Automotive Engineers sponsored the Walking Machine Challenge ( http://engineering.union.edu/WalkingMachine) in New York in April. The Challenge provided contestants from the PERIUS Team, from Sherbrook University in Quebec, the chance to gain hands-on design experience. They built a robot with independent legs that walks, climbs and manoeuvres around objects with a self-contained power source. Contemporary Controls donated components for the robot.
PERIUS team president, Alexis Lussier Desbiens, said his team was grateful to companies for donating components to construct PRP6, its six-legged, pneumatic robot. Contemporary Controls provided one of its PC/104 modules for the CPU, which is the brain of the robot. The robot was designed to be able to walk in a straight line at 1 m/s and climb different obstacles (up to 15 cm) without any problem.
An engineering drawing of the PERIUS Team’s PRP6 walking robot
Desbiens explains that the PC/104 module communicates to each of the I/O nodes on each of the robot's legs.
"What is interesting," says Desbiens, "is that the robot's movement was inspired by the movement of a cockroach. We were able to tune the mechanical system so that the robot does not require any sensory feedback to move at this speed. Feedback is used to monitor the system ... or control the global behaviour of the robot, not the legs, and still without any sensors!"
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