Mobility and manipulation are often considered separately, with independent degrees-of-freedom (DOF) for each. However, here we show that using the legs for both walking and grasping increases the versatility of both tasks. Our robot has four DOF: drive and lift for left and right pairs of legs. The legs use a reduced actuation Klann mechanism. The lift DOF rotates the entire trajectory of the legs, which enables gait modulation, climbing, and grasping. This demonstrates the feasibility of a novel operational concept: a robot that can approach, climb onto, and securely grasp an object that can then be lifted via a load-bearing tether. Specifically, we show the kinematics to enable small robots to climb onto rectangular objects up to 67% robot height and grasp objects between 43% and 72% of the robot’s length. With these kinematics, a robot can be scaled for specific terrains and object sizes, with potential application in construction, search and rescue, and object retrieval.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues