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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/J81952/01
Title: THE DESIGN OF HIGH MOBILITY LIMBED MACHINES
Principal Investigator: Howard, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Sanger, Professor J Sanger, Professor D Kerr, Dr D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Aeronautical Mech & Manufacturing Eng
Organisation: University of Salford
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 1994 Ends: 31 December 1997 Value (£): 105,836
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials testing & eng. Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Previous research on limbed machine (walkers and climbers) has concentrated on the control of locomotion. As a result the mechanics of limbed machines has been neglected, and as a consequence previous prototypes have suffered from extremely low power-to-weight ratios and poor efficiencies. The applicants believe that many of the problems result from the inadequacy of the usual approach to the static stability of multi-limbed machines, namely the use of the support polygon principle. No rigorous and comprehensive methodology for the stability analysis of limbed machines is available.The applicants propose to develop a static stability methodology, implemented in software, that avoids the shortcomings of existing approaches. This will deal with varying levels of static indeterminacy, all static constraints such as joint torque limits and friction, and will make no assumptions as to how the machine will be driven, i.e. which joints are driven.This will be followed by an investigation of the effect of leg design and, in particular, the number, distribution and relative strengths of driven joints on efficiency and power-to-weight ratio. In addition, the relationship between machine design and gait planning will be investigated. The work will also be experimentally validated using an existing hexapod prototype.The end result will be a set of generic principles and analytic tools for the mechanical design and associated gait design of lightweight and efficient walkers and climbers. It is intended that this will lay the foundations for a new generation of prototypes that truly demonstrate the feasibility of artificial multi-legged locomotion.
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Organisation Website: http://www.salford.ac.uk