Current spherical robots rely upon rotating mechanical weights inside the sphere to change the center of gravity of the sphere, causing the robot to roll. The use of rotating mechanical weights is not optimal due to the reliance upon moving parts, which can present burdensome maintenance issues. It would be desirable, for certain applications, to have a spherical robot that does not rely on mechanical weights for propulsion.

This innovation allows a spherical robot to move by use of a series of fluid tanks, evenly spaced on its inner structure. Microcontrollers open and close valves, filling chambers that will change the center of gravity and allow the robot to move in any direction on the XY plane.

The function of the system is based on fluid dynamics and pressure systems, removing the need for mechanical actuators, and thus reducing potential points of failure. This design provides for excellent control over the movements of the robot. It is also possible for the robot to have a lower electromagnetic signature as there is only one pump in the core of the device.

The robot is designed to be controlled through wireless technology or possibly functioned in a preprogrammed mode. The device can be equipped with various sensors (e.g., chemical/biological sensor, ambient sensor, motion sensor, and camera), depending on its intended purpose. The robot's size can vary from the size of a softball to that of a large tire, giving it a wide range of potential applications.

For more information, contact Joan Wu-Singel This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 406-9947705.


Motion Design Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2018 issue of Motion Design Magazine.

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