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Soft-Backboned Screw-Driven Snake Robot: Design, Shape Estimation, and Motion Control for Challenging, Constrained Environments


This thesis covers a newly developed design of a snake-like robot that has a flexible backbone, embedded shape estimation, and multi-axis control of pose and shape. Many applications require a soft-backbone snake-like robot that will non-destructively conform to its environment and yet retain active locomotion abilities. To our knowledge, such a solution does not exist as of the time of this publication. We propose a novel model which utilizes a series of discrete propulsion modules which allows us to distribute forces along the body evenly. Each module consists of a screw-like shell which is driven to provide the propulsion as well as an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to obtain the orientation of each module. These segments can then be individually manipulated to control and visualize the shape of the overall robot.

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