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MEAM Seminar: “Motion Planning for a Variable Topology Truss Robot”

July 26, 2022 at 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Variable Topology Trusses (VTTs) are a new type of modular, self-reconfigurable robot (MSRR). Like other self-reconfigurable robot systems, a VTT can change its shape to adapt to a variety of tasks, offering a wider range of capabilities than a single robot configuration. While most MSRRs consist of robot modules that are connected in a chain or lattice architecture, VTTs use a truss-based architecture instead. A VTT can be thought of as a variable geometry truss—a set of linear actuator modules that are connected together to form a rigid structure—with the additional ability to reconfigure by merging and splitting the truss nodes. This truss architecture gives improved structural efficiency and scalability, but it presents unique challenges for motion planning and reconfiguration planning.

In this talk, I will first introduce the Variable Topology Truss concept and show our recent progress on developing the robot hardware. Then, I will present my work on motion planning for reconfiguration and shape morphing of VTTs. Traditional probabilistic motion planning techniques are ineffective because the collision constraints generate a configuration space with many narrow passageways and inaccessible regions. I will present a technique that guides a motion planner by leveraging the topological and knot-theoretic information embedded in a robot configuration.

Alexander Spinos

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

Advisor: Mark Yim


July 26, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
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Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
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Towne 313
220 S. 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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