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We present a novel approach to controlling the locomotion of a wheel by changing its shape, leading to applications to the synthesis and closed-loop control of gaits for modular robots. A dynamic model of a planar, continuous deformable ellipse in contact with a ground surface is derived. We present two alternative approaches to controlling this system and a method for mapping the gaits to a discrete rolling polygon. Mathematical models and dynamic simulation of the continuous approximation and the discrete n-body system, and experimental results obtained from a physical modular robot system illustrate the accuracy of the dynamic models and the validity of the approach.
Daniel Mellinger, Vijay Kumar, and Mark Yim, "Control of Locomotion with Shape-Changing Wheels", . May 2009.
Date Posted: 12 October 2010
This document has been peer reviewed.