Enhancing the Vertical Mobility of a Robot Hexapod Using Microspines

Matt Martone, Catherine Pavlov, Adam Zeloof, Vivaan Bahl, Aaron M. Johnson

Modern climbing robots have risen to great heights, but mechanisms meant to scale cliffs often locomote slowly and over-cautiously on level ground. Here we introduce T-RHex, an iteration on the classic cockroach-inspired hexapod that has been augmented with microspine feet for climbing. T-RHex is a mechanically intelligent platform capable of efficient locomotion on ground with added climbing abilities. The legs integrate the compliance required for the microspines with the compliance required for locomotion in order to simplify the design and reduce mass. The microspine fabrication is simplified by embedding the spines during an additive manufacturing process. We present results that show that the addition of microspines to the T-RHex platform greatly increases the maximum slope that the robot is able to statically hang on (up to a 45 degree overhang) and ascend (up to 55 degrees) without sacrificing ground mobility.

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