Final Report: Whole Skin Locomotion
Whole Skin Locomotion (WSL) is a project that hopes to further the research of an interesting problem’s solution. The problem is, how to make a robot that is well suited for traversing tight spaces such as collapsed buildings or humane gastrointestinal tracts. By nature a wheel or tank tread rotates with the top and the bottom effectively going different directions. This can create dangerous and unstable conditions in confined spaces. Additionally wheels and tank treads can only use half of its available surface for forward motion. These are significant problems, and rich area for research. This semester I continued the WSL research project that had been started last semester. The base of this project was inspired by the movement of an amoeba, whose locomotion heavily depends pseudopods and cytoplasmic streaming. The endoplasm flows through the amoeba causing growth forward and away from the cell body. We aim to mimic this affect by creating the WSL robot’s forward motion from an inverting torus. As the torus inverts the entire exterior facing membrane moves in the same direction and returns though the center. This is contrary to a wheel or tank tread as we discussed earlier. WSL allows the robot to move in as long as the robot is in contact with the surface.