Decision making and wireless communication in an artificial swarm are fundamental engineering problems. This line of research focuses on developing algorithms for consensus-based decision making, task allocation, and collective task performance in robotic swarms and establishing effective and reliable wireless networking.
This project develops and evaluates a tangible block game platform developed for automated, play-based assessment of cognitive skills. The original form of the technology involves a set of highly instrumented blocks with motion sensing and wireless communication capabilities for detecting player’s manipulation motions, speed, and behavior. Aiming to reduce technical complexity and lower the cost, we have recently converted this highly-instrumented technology into a much simpler vision-based one that uses 3D-printed cubic inch blocks and an overhead camera. We are currently conducting a human subject study testing the vision-based tangible games for cognitive assessment. This study will continue throughout the Spring 2021 semester, and we are calling for your participation! Please click here for more information. The previous games using the sensitized blocks were tested on young healthy adults (age: 18-30), young children (age: 4-6), and older adults (age: 65+).
A variety of interesting games, incorporating music and auditory feedback into the game design have been also developed. The following video highlights these MusicBlock games (Student: David Miranda, MS 2018)
Origami + Robotics. 3D-printed TWISTER inspired by an origami design, called TWISTED TOWER by Mihoko Tachibana.
Origami brings novel inspiration and perspective to designing semi-soft robotic mechanisms. Instead of relying on materials deformations to achieve structural compliance as in many soft robots, origami – in particular “action” origami which exhibits kinematic motion – achieves coexisting properties of flexibility and rigidity.
TWISTER: 3D-printable semi-soft robotic mechanism
One particular origami design of our interest is called Twisted Tower by Mihoko Tachibana (See the picture below).
Inspired by the origami twisted tower, we created a new scalable, customizable, and 3D printable mechanism, called TWISTER. The deisgn was diversified to use any regular polygon (e.g., triangle, pentagon, hexagon, etc.) as the base geomtry, carefully converted into a CAD model, and printed using a PolyJet 3D printing machine using a soft material for creases and a hard material for relatively rigid surfaces.
“This origami-bot is a lightweight take on a robot arm.” (MIT Technology Review)
This 3D printed TWISTER and its robot embodiment into a robotic arm has been featured in media, including MIT Technology Review, CNN Technology, 3D Printing Industry, Cleveland.com, and WKSU. The initial phase of this project has been supported by the ACES+ program at Case Western Reserve University and Dr. Lee’s Nord Distinguished Assistant Professorship.
Check out the story behind the creation of TWISTER from CWRU 2018 Annual Report: “Robots, Transformed.”
TWISTER Hand: Underactuated robotic gripper
TWISTER Hand: An underactuated robotic gripper with three TWISTER fingers. This gripper can be attached to a robotic arm for adaptive robotic manipulation.
Our latest work along the TWISTER mechanism features a three-finger robotic gripper. This robotic hand consists of three miniaturized TWISTERs actuated by a single servomotor. Three cables, one for each finger, are simultaneously pulled and released by the pulley inside the chassis which is directly connected to the motor. Passive deformation in flexible fingers allow the gripper to effectively grasp objects in different shape, size, and texture without any sensing (e.g., force-based sensing) typically required for such tasks.
5-min brief intro video of Dr. Lee’s keynote speech on “3D printable soft mechanisms inspired by Origami” at 2020 Ubiquitous Robots Conference on June 22, 2020.
In swarm robotics, we want each robot to be as small and simple as possible. Small-size robots, however, often suffer from limited locomotion capabilities. Small wheels would not work in uneven, rough terrains. Legged robots exhibit greater flexibilities and agility, but hard to control and mechanically more complex to realize in a small compact form. The presented passive wheel-leg transformable mechanism aims to realize the advantages of both wheeled and legged locomotion without adding additional structural or control complexities.
Our new DARPA OFFSET Sprint 5 project (PI: Kiju Lee, 04/03/20 – 09/30/21) develops an adaptive Wheel-and-Leg Transformable Robot (α-WaLTR) for versatile locomotion in urban military environments. The 9-month base period will focus on technical development and experimental evaluation of the new hardware platform; and the next 9-month optional period will focus on system-level integration with the existing platform technologies developed by Swarm Systems Integrators. Please check back for more information.