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MEAM Seminar: “Bistable Robots: Leveraging Task Features for Actuator Reduction”

July 25, 2023 at 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Actuator reduction is especially important for aerial robots, where minimizing mass and conserving power is critical. Bistable mechanisms have been used to augment actuators by speeding up actuation time or allowing one direction of actuation to be passive. In this talk we will explore how bistable mechanisms can reduce the number of actuators needed in robotic applications. Traditional quadrotors exhibit agile flight, hovering, and landing. Inspired by birds and bats, recent developments aim to augment the capabilities of quadrotors with gliding or perching capabilities. However, current solutions require the addition of actuators. We demonstrate that bistable mechanisms can allow robots to exploit features in the task or environment to gain the desired functionality passively. Perching is an inherently contact-rich task, and incorporating a bistable structure enables us to exploit contacts for passive grasping and releasing. Flight is a highly dynamic task, and we demonstrate that bistable structures enable us to exploit inertia for passive wing deployment. Thus, bistability enables us to endow aerial robots with additional capabilities without adding additional motors.

Jessica Weakly

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: Cynthia Sung


July 25, 2023
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
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Event Tags:


Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
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Moore 212