Keywords: Rolling robot, sphere, Robotics, autonomous robots, autonomous navigation.
ROSPHERE is a spherical shape robot, which was initially thought as an alternative mobile system to move over non-compacted surfaces (e.g. sand). Nowadays, the concept has been extended to perform exploration and monitoring tasks. The robot has as a basic principle of locomotion, the relocation of its center of gravity, which is necessary in order to induce instability to make the robot roll over itself.
After analyzing and assessing different mechanical alternatives, and considering the requirements given in exploration and monitoring tasks, an internal pendulum was selected as instability generator mechanism. The first prototype includes a 2-degree-of-freedom mechanism, which permits to induce forward/backward and turning movements, which given its kinematics restrictions of the 2-DOF results in a non-holonomic system. The robot is provided within an embedded computer (Gumstix) that processes all sensors information (a 9-DOF Inertial Measurement Unit and GPS) in order to define control actions (positions and velocities) in both DOFs to reach predefined trajectories.
After validating and evaluating the basic principle of motion and its capabilities, a second prototype is being designing and building to improve mechanical aspects, as well as include external units supplied with additional sensors (i.e. cameras, infrared, etc.).
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