An inchworm mobile robot using electromagnetic linear actuator

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Journal Article
Mechatronics, 2009, 19 (7), pp. 1116 - 1125
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The capability of motion is one of the important aspects for a micro-robot to fulfill its given tasks. Micro-autonomous systems usually require large force, large displacement and less power consumption. Among different actuation schemes, electromagnetic actuator shows the benefit in a combination of force, displacement and cost effective control. A bristle-based inchworm mobile robot using a short stroke electromagnetic linear actuator is described in the paper. The main body and movable unit of the robot are joined by using a sealed bellows and the bristle legs are designed so that it can operate both on plane surfaces and in liquid. The actuator designed for the robot is a tubular type linear machine with an overall size of Φ7 × 10 mm. The key dimensions of the actuator were determined through magnetic field analysis to achieve optimum force output and necessary travel stroke within the limited space. The predicted actuation force of the actuator is 20 mN and the stroke length is 1.2 mm. Two working prototypes of the actuator were constructed and the performance tests show the effectiveness of the design. A sensorless control scheme with a novel start-up strategy for the designed actuator was developed based on the robotic system modeling and the analyzed results show the satisfactory performance of the system. © 2009.
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