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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Energy efficiency in friction-based locomotion mechanisms for soft and hard robots: slower can be faster

  • Author(s): Zhou, X
  • Majidi, C
  • O’Reilly, OM
  • et al.

© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Many recent designs of soft robots and nano-robots feature locomotion mechanisms that cleverly exploit slipping and sticking phenomena. These mechanisms have many features in common with peristaltic locomotion found in the animal world. The purpose of the present paper is to examine the energy efficiency of a locomotion mechanism that exploits friction. With the help of a model that captures most of the salient features of locomotion, we show how locomotion featuring stick-slip friction is more efficient than a counterpart that only features slipping. Our analysis also provides a framework to establish how optimal locomotion mechanisms can be selected.

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