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Fall 2010 GRASP Seminar – Sangbae Kim, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Bio-Inspired Robot Design for Hyper Dynamic Locomotion”

October 29, 2010 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

robot designers are increasingly searching for inspirations and design
cues from biological models. Biomechanics research of animals provides
an invaluable source of ideas for legged robot design but the process of
implementation involves great complexity. The direct implementation of
biological features and morphology often becomes ineffective and
misleads engineers due to various reasons. Firstly, engineers
investigate animals to achieve a few particular functions whereas
features of animals may serve for multiple functions or often remains
unknown.  Secondly, the difference between engineering manufacturing
process and biological synthesis arouses the difficulties in direct

The presentation introduces an abstract
bio-inspired design process, which includes simplification of
biological inspiration, abstraction of fundamental principles,
engineering verification, and prototyping of bio-inspired robots. Introduction of bio-inspired robots exemplify the process:  iSprawl, a cockroach-inspired hexapod
with compliant, under-actuated legs, runs at 15 body-lengths per
second. Spinybot, a hexapod that uses its toes with microspines to climb
rough surfaces, including stucco, concrete and brick walls. Stickybot, a
gecko-inspired quadruped
that climbs smooth vertical surfaces using directional dry adhesion. At
the smallest length scale, the undersides of the toes are covered with a
unique material called directional polymeric stalks, inspired by the directional setae and lamellae of the gecko.

future direction of the research includes the implementation of the
design process to the hyper-dynamic robotics. Hyper-dynamic robotics
entails the morphological design and the control architecture for the
highly dynamic performance of legged systems. The development of a fast
galloping quadruped will be the first challenge in this effort. The
research field includes new actuation scheme, robust structure
fabrication, and hierarchical control algorithms for complex systems.
 Extensive studies on biological runners such as dogs and cheetahs will
be vital to the morphological design of the a galloping robot capable of
the fast traverse on rough and unstructured terrains.


- Learn More

Sangbae Kim is
Assistant Professor of
Mechanical Engineering and the director of Biomimetic Robotics Lab
at MIT. His research focuses on bio-inspired robotic system design based
on biotensegrity structure, composite structure manufacturing, and
system control. His design approaches highlight the importance of
understanding the difference between biological systems and counterparts
of engineering systems by careful observations and embodiment of the
principles. Kim’s
on bio-inspired robot development includes the world‘s first
directional adhesive based on gecko lizards, and a climbing robot,
Stickybot, that utilizes the directional adhesives to climb smooth
surfaces. He received the Best Paper Award for the IEEE Transactions on
Robotics 2008 and the Best Student Paper Award at IEEE International Conference
on Robotics and Automation 2007. His bio-inspired climbing robot was selected as one of the best
inventions in Time magazine in 2006 and
also featured in more than 100 media exposures including Forbes magazine, Wired
Science, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel. Kim received his B.S.
in Mechanical engineering from Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea. He earned
his Ph.D. in M.E. from Stanford University, in 2008 and joined MIT in 2009.


October 29, 2010
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category: