HexaMorph: A Reconfigurable and Foldable Hexapod Robot Inspired by Origami

by | Jun 20, 2014

Authors: Wei Gao, Ke Huo, Jasjeet S. Seehra, Karthik Ramani, and Raymond J. Cipra
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS'14) , Chicago, September, 2014

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Origami affords the creation of diverse 3D objects through explicit folding processes from 2D sheets of material. Originally as a paper craft from 17th century AD, origami designs reveal the rudimentary characteristics of sheet folding: it is lightweight, inexpensive, compact and combinatorial. In this paper, we present “HexaMorph”, a novel starfish-like hexapod robot designed for modularity, foldability and reconfigurability. Our folding scheme encompasses periodic foldable tetrahedral units, called “Basic Structural Units” (BSU), for constructing a family of closed-loop spatial mechanisms and robotic forms. The proposed hexapod robot is fabricated using single sheets of cardboard. The electronic and battery components for actuation are allowed to be preassembled on the flattened crease-cut pattern and enclosed inside when the tetrahedral modules are folded. The self-deploying characteristic and the mobility of the robot are investigated, and we discuss the motion planning and control strategies for its squirming locomotion. Our design and folding paradigm provides a novel approach for building reconfigurable robots using a range of lightweight foldable sheets.




Wei Gao is currently a D-PhD student in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. Mr. Gao received his bachelor degree (2009) in Mechanical engineering from the University of Shanghai for Science & Technology. His graduate research focuses on design, simulation and optimization of foldable, reconfigurable and self-assembly mechanisms/robotic systems, and developing novel 3D printing technique based on FDM and building self-contained appliances that allow printing fully-functional objects (customizable products, articulated working models, self-actuated devices).