Tribot: a Multi-Locomotion Millirobot Platform

(c) Zhenishbek Zhakypov

(c) Zhenishbek Zhakypov

Freedom of Movement
Tribot is an autonomous multi-locomotion insect-scale robot (millirobot) inspired by trap-jaw ants that addresses the design and scalability challenges of small-scale terrestrial robots. The robot’s compact locomotion mechanism is constructed with minimal components and assembly steps, has tunable power requirements, and realizes five distinct gaits: vertical jumping for height, horizontal jumping for distance, somersault jumping to clear obstacles, walking on textured terrain and crawling on flat surfaces. The untethered, battery-powered millirobot can selectively switch gaits to traverse diverse terrain types, and groups of millirobots can operate collectively to manipulate objects and overcome obstacles. We constructed the ten-gram palm-sized prototype—the smallest and lightest self-contained multi-locomotion robot reported so far—by folding a quasi-two-dimensional metamaterial sandwich formed of easily integrated mechanical, material and electronic layers, which will enable assembly-free mass-manufacturing of robots with high task efficiency, flexibility and disposability.
Tribot with mechanical and electronic components embedded by folding

Tribot with mechanical and electronic components embedded by folding

Robogami Design
Robogami is foldable quasi-2D crease patterned machines and robots composed of functional material layers that can reconstruct various 3D shapes and mechanisms, theoretically, with infinite degrees-of-freedom. While traditional robot mechanical parts are manufactured in 3D, low profile bodies and functional material components for actuation, sensing, and other interfaces are processed in 2D, followed by composition and folding assembly to 3D allowing rapid, customized and inexpensive mass-fabrication. Using novel manufacturing processes and material combinations with great precision and compactness, a great variety of functional features can be introduced to robot design, like smart and adaptable locomotion.
Folding design and assembly

Folding design and assembly

Origin
The first versions of Tribot were tethered, weigh 4 g and jump seven times their height repeatedly. We studied two different approaches to build the prototypes. For one of them, we used the traditional, monolithic, layer-by-layer robogami fabrication method and the second, we printed out most parts using a multi-material 3D printer. The embedded sensors allow Tribot’s crawling gait pattern and jumping height to be modulated with a closed loop control.
Versatility
To address downsizing and repeatable operation adapted for uneven terrains, we designed and fabricated the foldable, deployable and self-righting version of multi-locomotion origami robot Tribot. The 4 g robot can jump high as 215 mm, 5x its height, and roll on any two edges with 55 mm steps using a single mechanism by selective actuation. The robot deploys 9x of its size when released and self-rights onto two legs after a jump or drop, making it an ideal candidate for search, environmental monitoring and space exploration.
Earlier versions of Tribot

Earlier versions of Tribot

Got questions or ideas? Please contact Zhenishbek Zhakypov.

References

Designing Minimal and Scalable Insect-Inspired Multi-Locomotion Millirobots

Z. Zhakypov; K. Mori; K. Hosoda; J. Paik 

Nature. 2019-07-10. Vol. 571, p. 381–386. DOI : 10.1038/s41586-019-1388-8.

Design Methodology for Constructing Multimaterial Origami Robots and Machines

Z. Zhakypov; J. Paik 

IEEE Transactions on Robotics. 2018. Vol. 34, num. 1. DOI : 10.1109/TRO.2017.2775655.

Tribot: A Deployable, Self-Righting and Multi-Locomotive Origami Robot

Z. Zhakypov; C. Belke; J. Paik 

2017. IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Vancouver, BC, September 24-28. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2017.8206445.

The Design and Control of the Multi-Modal Locomotion Origami Robot, Tribot

Z. Zhakypov; M. Falahi; M. Shan; J. Paik 

2015. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robots and Systems (IROS15), Hamburg, Germany, September 29 – October 1, 2015. DOI : 10.1109/IROS.2015.7353994.