Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

  • Graphic Transfer Matrix Method for Kinetostatic and Dynamic Analyses of Compliant Mechanisms
    on March 8, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractKinetostatic and dynamic analyses of compliant mechanisms with complex configurations continue to be an attractive issue for obtaining a process-concise and result-accurate solution. In this paper, the transfer matrix method (TMM) is improved for a unified linear kinetostatics and dynamic modeling of compliant mechanisms with complex serial-parallel configurations in an oriented graphic way. In detail, the transfer matrices of typical building blocks commonly used in compliant mechanisms are summarized and derived. Then, a graphic transfer matrix modeling procedure capturing both the kinetostatics and dynamics of general compliant mechanisms is introduced. The displacement amplification ratio, input/output stiffness, parasitic error, natural frequencies, and frequency response of a typical compliant microgripper and a planar parallel three-degrees-of-freedom (3DOF) nanopositioner are calculated with such a graphic transfer matrix method. The advantages of the proposed modeling method lie in its convenience and uniformity in formulating both the kinetostatic and dynamic behaviors of a class of compliant mechanisms with distributed and lumped compliances in a transfer matrix manner, which has minimal DOF and is easily programmed.

  • Development of a Three-Mobile-Robot System for Cooperative Transportation
    on March 8, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractThe transportation of large-scale objects in a narrow space is a challenging, but useful application for mobile robots. We have developed a three-mobile-robot system to cooperatively lift, support, and transport a large object on a mobile robot system. To facilitate the manipulation involved with loading an object onto the robots, where the robots must maintain firm contact with the object and anchor at its location, we designed an adaptable mechanism for the object-loading platform and a liftable brake to ensure that the robot remains stationary when necessary. Furthermore, each robot is designed to act as an omnidirectional wheel; therefore, all three robots can work as an omnidirectional block when collectively loading an object. The kinematic constraints of the object–robot system and forward kinematics of the robots’ cooperative motion are proposed, and experiments are conducted to confirm the designed mechanisms and confirm that the robots can load an object and cooperatively transport it along the expected trajectory.

  • Algorithmic Spatial Form-Finding of Four-Fold Origami Structures Based on Mountain-Valley Assignments
    on March 8, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractOrigami has attracted tremendous attention in recent years owing to its capability of inspiring and enabling the design and development of reconfigurable structures and mechanisms for applications in various fields such as robotics and biomedical engineering. The vast majority of origami structures are folded starting from an initial two-dimensional crease pattern. However, in general, the planar configuration of such a crease pattern is in a singular state when the origami starts to fold. Such a singular state results in different motion possibilities of rigid or non-rigid folding. Thus, planar origami patterns cannot act as reliable initial configurations for further kinematic or structural analyses. To avoid the singularities of planar states and achieve reliable structural configurations during folding, we introduce a nonlinear prediction–correction method and present a spatial form-finding algorithm for four-fold origami. In this approach, first, initial nodal displacements are predicted based on the mountain-valley assignments of the given origami pattern, which are applied to vertices to form an initial spatial and defective origami model. Subsequently, corrections of nodal displacements are iteratively performed on the defective model until a satisfactory nonplanar configuration is obtained. Numerical experiments demonstrate the performance of the proposed algorithm in the form-finding of both trivial and non-trivial four-fold origami tessellations. The obtained configurations can be effectively utilized for further kinematic and structural analyses. Additionally, it has been verified that corrected and nonplanar configurations are superior to initial configurations in terms of matrix distribution and structural stiffness.

  • Parameter Optimization of Foldable Flapping-Wing Mechanism for Maximum Lift
    on March 8, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractA lot of flapping-wing mechanisms have been proposed to mimic the flight characteristics of biological flyers. However, it is difficult to find studies that consider the unsteady aerodynamics in the design of the flapping-wing mechanisms. This paper presents a systematic approach to optimize the design parameters of a foldable flapping-wing mechanism (FFWM) with a proper aerodynamics model. For the kinematic model, the eight design parameters are defined to determine the reference configuration of the FFWM. The geometrical constraints of each design parameter are derived, and the kinematic analysis is conducted using the plane vector analysis method. The aerodynamic simulation using an unsteady vortex lattice method is performed to compute the aerodynamic loads induced by the flapping motion. An optimization problem is formulated to search for the optimal design parameters that maximize the average lift force considering the required power corresponding to the aerodynamic torques. The parameter optimization problem is solved for three different length ratios of the outer wing to the inner wing using a genetic algorithm. The optimization results show that increasing the outer wing length can cause a significant loss in the required power. The optimal design parameters found by the proposed approach allow the FFWM to generate maximum lift force with appropriate consideration of the required power.

  • Sensor-Less Grasping Force Control of a Pneumatic Underactuated Robotic Gripper
    on March 8, 2023 at 12:00 am

    AbstractThe primary motivation of this study is to develop a sensor-less, easily controlled, and passively adaptive robotic gripper. A back-drivable pneumatic underactuated robotic gripper (PURG), based on the pneumatic cylinder and underactuated finger mechanism, is presented to accomplish the above goals. A feedforward grasping force control method, based on the learned kinematics of the underactuated finger mechanism, is proposed to achieve sensor-less grasping force control. To enhance the grasping force control accuracy, a state-based actuating force modeling method is presented to compensate the hysteresis error which exists in the transmission mechanism. Actuating force control experiment is performed to validate the effectiveness of the state-based actuating pressure modeling method. Results reveal that compared with the non-state-based modeling method, the proposed state-based actuating force modeling method could reduce the modeling error and control error by about 37.0% and 77.2%, respectively. Results of grasping experiments further reveal that grasping force could be accurately controlled by the state-based feedforward control model in a sensor-less approach. Adaptive grasping experiments are performed to exhibit the effectiveness of the sensor-less grasping force control approach.

Development of a Hydraulic Driven Bionic Soft Gecko Toe


Geckos can climb freely on various types of surfaces using their flexible and adhesive toes. Gecko-inspired robots are capable of climbing on different surface conditions and have shown many important applications. Nonetheless, due to poor flexibility of toes, the movements of gecko-inspired robots are restricted to flat surfaces. To improve the flexibility, by utilizing design technique of soft actuator and incorporating the characteristics of a real gecko’s toe, the design of new bionic soft toes is proposed. The abilities of this bionic toe are verified using modeling and two soft toes are manufactured. One is Type A toe having varied semi-circle cross sections as the feature of real gecko toe and the other is Type B toe with a constant semi-circle cross section. The bending behaviors of the bionic toes subjected to a range of hydraulic pressure are also experimentally studied. It demonstrated that both toes can perform similarly large bending angles for the adduction (attachment) and abduction (detachment) motions. In comparisons, Type B toe exhibits larger output force, which is ascribed to the fact that at proximal section of Type B corresponds to larger volume for bearing fluid. Both toes can not only provide sufficient adhesion but can be quickly detached with low peeling forces. Finally, different curved surfaces are used to further justify the applicability of these bionic toes. In particular, the flexible toes developed also have the advantages of low cost, lightweight, and simple control, which is desirable for wall-climbing robots.
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