InchBot: A Novel Swarm Microrobotic Platform
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Collective behavior in swarm robotics explores various scenarios involving many robots communicating, sensing, and running simultaneously. This strategy aims to reduce the time and energy required and to improve the efficiency of completing complex tasks which are typically difficult to accomplish individually. This paper presents InchBot, a novel swarm microrobotic platform, which is highly modular, rechargeable, and capable of sensing and communicating with each other wirelessly. InchBot features a new stackable hardware structure allowing customization in the embedded sensors and a novel flexible wheel design suitable for omnidirectional motions. A detailed analysis on the deformation characteristics of the flexible spoke wheels due to centrifugal force was performed using the finite element method. Preliminary experiments demonstrated the utility of flexible spoke wheels for generating forward, diagonal, and turning motions.
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