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PublicationOrigami-Inspired Robot that Swims via Jet Propulsion(2021-07-13) Yang, Zhiyuan; Chen, Dongsheng; Levine, David J; Sung, Cynthia R.; Yang, Zhiyuan; Chen, Dongsheng; Levine, David J; Sung, Cynthia R.Underwater swimmers present unique opportunities for using bodily reconfiguration for self propulsion. Origami-inspired designs are low-cost, fast to fabricate, robust, and can be used to create compliant mechanisms useful in energy efficient underwater locomotion. In this paper, we demonstrate an origami-inspired robot that can change its body shape to ingest and expel water, creating a jet that propels it forward similarly to cephalopods. We use the magic ball origami pattern, which can transform between ellipsoidal (low volume) and spherical (high volume) shapes. A custom actuation mechanism contracts the robot to take in fluid, and the inherent mechanics of the magic ball returns the robot to its natural shape upon release. We describe the design and control of this robot and verify its locomotion in a water tank. The resulting robot is able to move forward at 6.7 cm/s (0.2 body lengths/s), with a cost of transport of 2.0. PublicationDrag Coefficient Characterization of the Origami Magic Ball (Inproceedings)(2023-08-29) Chen, Guanyu; Chen, Dongsheng; Weakly, Jessica; Sung, Cynthia; Chen, Guanyu; Chen, Dongsheng; Weakly, Jessica; Sung, CynthiaThe drag coefficient plays a vital role in the design and optimization of robots that move through fluids. From aircraft to underwater vehicles, their geometries are specially engineered so that the drag coefficients are as low as possible to achieve energy-efficient performances. Origami magic balls are 3-dimensional reconfigurable geometries composed of repeated simple waterbomb units. Their volumes can change as their geometries vary and we have used this concept in a recent underwater robot design. This paper characterizes the drag coefficient of an origami magic ball in a wind tunnel. Through dimensional analysis, the scenario where the robot swims underwater is equivalently transferred to the situation when it is in the wind tunnel. With experiments, we have collected and analyzed the drag force data. It is concluded that the drag coefficient of the magic ball increases from around 0.64 to 1.26 as it transforms from a slim ellipsoidal shape to an oblate spherical shape. Additionally, three different magic balls produce increases in the drag coefficient of between 57% and 86% on average compared to the smooth geometries of the same size and aspect ratio. The results will be useful in future designs of robots using waterbomb origami in fluidic environments. PublicationELECTRONICS DESIGN AND VERIFICATION FOR ROBOTS WITH ACTUATION AND SENSING REQUIREMENTS(ASME, 2023-08-29) Chen, Dongsheng; Chen, Dongsheng; Huang, Zonghao; Sung, CynthiaRobot design is a challenging problem involving a balance between the robot’s mechanical design, kinematic structure, and actuation and sensing capabilities. Recentwork in computational robot design has focused on mechanical design while assuming that the given actuators are sufficient for the task. At the same time, existing electronics design tools ignore the physical requirements of the actuators and sensors in the circuit. In this paper, we present the first system that closes the loop between the two, incorporating a robot’s mechanical requirements into its circuit design process. We show that the problem can be solved using an iterative search consisting of two parts. First, a dynamic simulator converts the mechanical design and the given task into concrete actuation and sensing requirements. Second, a circuit generator executes a branch-and-bound search to convert the design requirements into a feasible electronic design. The system iterates through both of these steps, a process that is sometimes required since the electronics components add mass that may affect the robot’s design requirements. We demonstrate this approach on two examples – a manipulator and a quadruped – showing in both cases that the system is able to generate a valid electronics design.