Abstract

This study presents the design and development of a compliant multi-link hopping mechanism actuated by a single DC motor. Two main design goals are to have a single piece designed main body for the jumping robot and a passive stabilizer to allow consecutive jumps. Mechanism consists of monolithically designed large deflecting main body incorporating the gears and initially curved flexure hinge. Due to the limitations of the design goal, revolute motion between top and bottom legs on the main body are realized by a compliant link which replaces the need of ball bearings. Also, continuous energy store and release during jumping is ensured by the same flexure hinges. Passive self-righting cage is attached to the bottom of the main body to maintain upright position both in landing and takeoff. The cage allows the center of mass to stay in the vertical plane to prevent tilting. During landing, cage absorbs the impact and allows the main body to roll to its initial configuration so that the robot can complete jumping. Mechanism parts including the cage are 3D printed using PETG. Design optimization of the body parts including the rigid legs and flexure hinges are analyzed both experimentally and analytically. Finite element analysis is performed to calculate the equivalent stiffness and natural frequency of the jumping robot and simplified mathematical model is derived using rigid body dynamics.

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