Autonomous truss-climbing robot assembles and disassembles structures

A constructor robot developed by the researchers at Cornell University is capable of autonomously climbing in a three-dimensional truss for assembling and disassembling the building structures. This robot had several design modifications from the year of 2009. Now, the existing one is the third version building robot. An important change made is the incorporation of 3D-printed trusses and gears.

Jeremy Blum, a research team member refers the process of this robot as ‘machine metabolism,’ because its job is similar to a biological organism, which will break nutrients into building blocks and rebuild those blocks into new ones.

The autonomous truss-climbing robot is equipped with 3D-printed gears at its center. It also includes an onboard power supply, sensor I/O board, Atmel-based CM-2+ microcontroller, and dynamixel servo motors.

This building robot can navigate in three different motions such as:

  • 90 degree rotational movement on the rod
  • 180 degree flip over the rod
  • From horizontal to vertical rods and vice versa

The above three motions of the building robot are shown in the below video. This video also contains the disassembly and reconfiguration of trusses, robot and truss design, and robot electronic systems.

The truss design is slightly complicated as like the building robot. It is incorporated with rotating robot-lockable connectors, which can be adjusted with the help of rotational mechanism. Each rod has reflectivity sensors for detecting the stop points. A carbon-fiber rod is present inside the connectors for reinforcement.

The research team members also stated the reconfiguration success rates of their constructor robot, and it is listed below:

  • 97% – translational movement
  • 100% – disassembly movement
  • 70% – assembly movement

In the future, this autonomous constructor robot will play an important role in recycling the buildings, disassembling failure structures and rebuilding it into new things. The researchers believe that this robot could be used in the space missions for performing risky repairs. In addition, they have planned to upgrade some significant features in their robot like handling of several trusses at the same time and integration of genetic algorithms.

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