Lateral Impact Study May Help Improve Robustness of Bionic Robot

The balancing strategy to lateral impact in a rat is closely related to the striked position of the body. The research result can be inspired to improve the robustness of bionic robot. This was found by Dr. JI Aihong and his group from Institute of Bio-inspired Structure and Surface Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

This work, entitled "Balancing strategy to lateral impact in a rat Rattus norregicus", was published in Chinese Science Bulletin (In Chinese),2014, Vol 59(13) issue.


The center of mass(COM) of animal's body always falls inside the composed polygon of multiple supporting legs during animal locomotion. However, under the interference of environment such as lateral strike and lateral storm, the COM may exceed its security domain. How does animal adjust its movement pattern to balance the outside disturbance? It is necessary to study the animal's balancing strategy to lateral impact to reveal the mechanism of animal keeping stability when locomotion.

In this paper a rat Rattus norregicus was focused to study its balancing strategy to lateral impact. A pendulum was used to strike lateral thorax and lateral abdomen of the animal. Locomotion behavior was recorded by a high speed camera and ground reaction forces were measured by 3-dimensional forces sensors array synchronously during the whole progress of impact and adjustment(Fig 1). The result showed that the balancing strategy to lateral impact in a rat was closely related to the striked position of the body. The rat bent flexible body to absorb the impact energy when encountering the lateral thorax strike, and it resisted the impact force and torque through its side-sway and left leg supporting when encountering the lateral abdomen strike. Animal spent less time on side-sway than on body bending during imergency buffer, but it spent more time on side-sway than on body bending when reverting to original locomotion gait. Balancing strategy to lateral impact in a rat can be inspired to improve the robustness of bionic robot.

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ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.