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Robot Movement Question

  1. Oct 2, 2013 #1
    Hi Guys,

    I am currently building a robot and I am doing some research for the movement of the robot on vertical objects preferably walls made of steel and horizontal grounds. These walls contain some oil spills. To be clear the main purpose of the robot is to do inspection (electrical oil fill transformers) and I have already done most of the research and I would like you guys input on this small matter.

    I have come across the concept of having magnetic feet, like a switch, where one feet turns on and the other feet turns off and it alternates. When I say on, I mean the magnets. The robot itself is like a "spider" with six feet. What I would like to know if it is even possible to do such a thing? Any ideas or thoughts would be great.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    bond007, Congratulations on looking to nature for ideas when planning your designs! Many successful man-made machines have been designed and built using the examples from nature that have evolved over millions of years. The term for this is "biomimicry".

    Your idea of using electro-magnetically controlled "spider" feet for your robotic inspector seems to be a perfect example of this. Yes, you certainly may switch on one or more "feet" while others freely swing into the next position of the stride. You might look for slow-motion videos that show exactly how spiders walk, climb, and even jump. Furthermore, you may consider copying parts of their legs to improve the performance of your robots. Hydraulically-actuated legs may be overly complicated for your application. You are free to use the good ideas from others who've already solved this problem.

    Just as an example of ideas, see this paragraph from the Wiki page:


    Each of the eight legs of a spider consists of seven distinct parts. The part closest to and attaching the leg to the cephalothorax is the coxa; the next segment is the short trochanter that works as a hinge for the following long segment, the femur; next is the spider's knee, the patella, which acts as the hinge for the tibia; the metatarsus is next, and it connects the tibia to the tarsus (which may be thought of as a foot of sorts); the tarsus ends in a claw made up of either two or three points, depending on the family to which the spider belongs. Although all arthropods use muscles attached to the inside of the exoskeleton to flex their limbs, spiders and a few other groups still use hydraulic pressure to extend them, a system inherited from their pre-arthropod ancestors.[18] The only extensor muscles in spider legs are located in the three hip joints (bordering the coxa and the trochanter).[19] As a result a spider with a punctured cephalothorax cannot extend its legs, and the legs of dead spiders curl up.[8] Spiders can generate pressures up to eight times their resting level to extend their legs,[20] and jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times their own length by suddenly increasing the blood pressure in the third or fourth pair of legs.[8] Unlike smaller jumping spiders, though larger spiders use hydraulics to straighten their legs, they depend on their flexor muscles to generate the propulsive force for their jumps.[19]"

  4. Oct 15, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I merged your threads.

    If you want to switch a magnetic field on and off, I don't see how reversing a current would be useful. The robot will need some electronics anyway, you can use an output to control electromagnets.
    Are you sure all surfaces the robot is supposed to climb are ferromagnetic? Especially close to transformers, there might be some other material to avoid an influence on the transformer.
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