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In-Place Rotation for Enhancing Snake-like Robot Mobility

by   Alexander H. Chang, et al.

Gaits engineered for snake-like robots to rotate in-place instrumentally fill a gap in the set of locomotive gaits that have traditionally prioritized translation. This paper designs a Turn-in-Place gait and demonstrates the ability of a shape-centric modeling framework to capture the gait's locomotive properties. Shape modeling for turning involves a time-varying continuous body curve described by a standing wave. Presumed viscous robot-ground frictional interactions lead to body dynamics conditioned on the time-varying shape model. The dynamic equations describing the Turn-in-Place gait are validated by an articulated snake-like robot using a physics-based simulator and a physical robot. The results affirm the shape-centric modeling framework's capacity to model a variety of snake-like robot gaits with fundamentally different body-ground contact patterns. As an applied demonstration, example locomotion scenarios partner the shape-centric Turn-in-Place gait with a Rectilinear gait for maneuvering through constrained environments based on a multi-modal locomotive planning strategy. Unified shape-centric modeling facilitates trajectory planning and tracking for a snake-like robot to successfully negotiate non-trivial obstacle configurations.


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