Efforts in the research of tensegrity structures applied to mobile robots have recently been focused on a purely tensegrity solution to all design requirements. Locomotion systems based on tensegrity structures are currently slow and complex to control. Although wheeled locomotion provides better efficiency over distances there is no literature available on the value of wheeled methods with respect to tensegrity designs, nor on how to transition from a tensegrity structure to a fixed structure in mobile robotics. This paper is the first part of a larger study that aims to combine the flexibility, light weight, and strength of a tensegrity structure with the efficiency and simple control of a wheeled locomotion system. It focuses on comparing different types of tensegrity structure for applicability to a mobile robot, and experimentally finding an appropriate transitional region from a tensegrity structure to a conventional fixed structure on mobile robots. It applies this transitional structure to what is, to the authors' knowledge, the design of the world's first wheeled-tensegrity mobile robot that has been designed with the goal of traversing air ducts.
- bio-inspired robots
- wheeled mobility