Wriggle Robots

Publication: T. D. Ta, T. Umedachi, Y. Kawahara, “Design of Frictional 2D-Anisotropy Surface for Wriggle Locomotion of Printable Soft-bodied Robots”, Proc. of IEEE ICRA’18, May 2018, DOI: 10.1109/ICRA.2018.8463177

Abstract—Soft-bodied and continuum robots have shown great adaptability to the environment thanks to its flexibility of the body. They have great potential in environment exploring or rescuing mission. One of those robots is snake-like soft-bodied robots. A snake robot is often made by attaching passive wheels along a long body to achieve frictional anisotropy. This anisotropic structure helps to propel the body with serpentine locomotion and prevents it from sliding laterally. However, with a snake-like soft-bodied robot, attaching wheels is not only clumsy but also adding weight to the robot. In this paper, being inspired by the scales on the skin of a snake, we propose a designing scheme to achieve an all-printed wriggle soft-bodied robot by patterning high and low friction material to the ventral side of the robot. Compared to a totally flat ventral, we are able to speed-up the serpentine locomotion 2.8 times. Besides, by changing the configuration of high/low friction material, our wriggle soft-bodied robot can easily move forward or backward just by switching the controlling signal. The fabrication time is just less than 1 hour and the robot can achieve a speed of 26 mm/s. 

Combination of high and low friction materials to print directional frictional surface textures.
Different patterns of directional frictional surface texture